Sylvia Plath Effect

The Sylvia Plath effect is a term coined by psychologist James C. Kaufman in 2001 to refer to the phenomenon that poets are more susceptible to mental illness than other creative writers. Although many studies (e.g., Andreasen, 1987; Jamison, 1989; Ludwig, 1995) have demonstrated that creative writers are prone to suffer from mental illness, this relationship has not been examined in depth. This early finding has been dubbed “the Sylvia Plath effect,” and implications and possibilities for future research are discussed. Kaufman's work further demonstrated that female poets were more likely to suffer from mental illness than any other class of writers. In addition, female poets were more likely to be mentally ill than other eminent women, such as politicians, actresses, and artists.

The effect is named after Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide at the age of 30 after several attempts throughout her life.

Read more about Sylvia Plath EffectSupporting Evidence, Sylvia Plath, Female Writers, Sex Differences, Criticism, See Also

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Janet Burroway - Biography
... have held that position, including poet Sylvia Plath and novelist Joan Didion, who was Burroway’s co-editor.) Burroway’s first poem to be published in a national magazine was “The Rivals,” which ... In her essay “I Didn’t Know Sylvia Plath” (published in Embalming Mom Essays in Life, University of Iowa Press 2002), Burroway writes, “I married a man with a ... and almost paralyzed by inertia, Burroway, like Sylvia Plath (whom she had met on a few occasions), contemplated suicide ...

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