The Correlation Between Artistic Expression And Mental Disorders

922 Words May 2nd, 2016 4 Pages
Following Tsank’s investigation of Plath’s psychological condition, James C. Kaufman also published an investigation evaluating the correlation between artistic expression and mental disorders. His research consisted in a historical study to determine the incidence of mental illnesses in accomplished writers. He utilized biographical accounts to create a statistical report of the recurrence of mental illnesses in creative individuals. Kaufman focused his investigation in the ways that artists responded to tragedy and deception. Thus, he made sure to consider the variables or “setbacks” that could have affected the psycho-social development of the subjects, such as physical illness, and significant personal tragedy. The results of this investigation confirmed the existence of such relationship, and even found notable differences related to gender and type of writing. As expected, Kaufman discovered a higher occurrence of mental illnesses in female writers than in males, but curiously he also found a bigger rate of depression on women who wrote poetry. He then refocused his investigation to only females, and found again that poets had a higher recurrence of mental disorders. Kaufman took his study even further comparing not only writers, but female professionals in various disciplines, such politicians, and actresses. The results again confirmed a higher incidence of mental illness in female poets, thus, he decided to name this correlation as “the Sylvia Plath effect”.

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