Burden of Sympathy by David A. Karp
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Burden of Sympathy
By David A. Karp

The Burden of Sympathy

How Families Cope with Mental Illness

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Format: Paperback

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Burden of Sympathy by David A. Karp

Book Description

What are the limits of sympathy in dealing with another person's troubles? Where do we draw the line between caring for a loved one, and being swallowed up emotionally by the obligation to do so? Quite simply, what do we owe each other? In this vivid and thoughtful study, David Karp chronicles the experiences of the family members of the mentally ill, and how they draw "boundaries of sympathy" to avoid being engulfed by the day-to-day suffering of a loved one. Working from sixty extensive interviews, the author reveals striking similarities in the experiences of caregivers: the feelings of shame, fear, guilt and powerlessness in the face of a socially stigmatized illness; the frustration of navigating the complex network of bureaucracies that govern the mental health system; and most of all, the difficulty negotiating an "appropriate" level of involvement with the mentally ill loved one while maintaining enough distance for personal health. Throughout the narratives, Karp sensitively explores the overarching question of how people strike an equilibrium between reason and emotion, between head and heart, when caring for a catastrophically ill person. The Burden of Sympathy concludes with a critical look at what it means to be a moral and caring person at the turn of the century in America, when powerful cultural messages spell out two contradictory imperatives: pursue personal fulfillment at any cost and care for the family at any cost. An insightful, deeply caring look at mental illness and at the larger picture of contemporary values, The Burden of Sympathy is required reading for caregivers of all kinds, and for anyone seeking broader understanding of human responsibility in the postmodern world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195152449
ISBN-10: 0195152441
Format: Paperback
(200mm x 127mm x 23mm)
Pages: 340
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 13-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author David A. Karp

Speaking of Sadness by David A. Karp Speaking of Sadness, Paperback (December 2016)

Speaking of Sadness, based on fifty in-depth interviews, provides first-hand accounts of the depression experience while discovering clear regularities in the ways that personal identities are shaped over the course of an "illness career."

Windows 7 Annoyances by David A. Karp Windows 7 Annoyances, Paperback (May 2010)

Helps you learn how to deal with a wide range of nagging problems of Windows 7. This book lets you: customize Windows Explorer, improve the Search tool, and get Windows 7's advertised eye candy to work; explore Registry tips and tools and use them to solve 7's shortcomings; and, protect your data with permissions, encryption, and shadow copies.

Is it Me or My Meds? by David A. Karp Is it Me or My Meds?, Paperback (November 2007)

Millions of people in the US routinely use antidepressant medications. This book discusses whether these drugs cure depression or is their popularity a sign that we now redefine normal life problems as diseases.

Research Imagination by David A. Karp Research Imagination, Hardback (August 2007)

Qualitative and quantitative research methods are explored thoroughly in this resource for instructors and students of sociology.

» View all books by David A. Karp


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Author Biography - David A. Karp

David A. Karp is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. His book Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (OUP, 1996) won the Charles Horton Cooley Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

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