Karp, David A(llen) 1944-

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KARP, David A(llen) 1944-

PERSONAL: Born 1944; married; wife's name, Darleen; children: Peter, Alyssa. Education: New York University, Ph.D., 1971.

ADDRESSES: Home—Chestnut Hill, MA. Offıce— Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Boston College, Boston, MA, professor of sociology.

AWARDS, HONORS: Charles Horton Cooley Award, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 1996, for Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness.


(With Gregory P. Stone and William C. Yoels) BeingUrban: A Social Psychological View of City Life, Heath (Lexington, MA), 1977, 2nd edition published as Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life, Praeger (New York, NY), 1991.

(With others) The Research Craft: An Introduction toSocial-Science Methods, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1977.

(With William C. Yoels) Symbols, Selves, and Society:Understanding Interaction, Lippincott (New York, NY), 1979.

(With William C. Yoels) Experiencing the Life Cycle:A Social Psychology of Aging, C. C. Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1982, 2nd edition, 1993.

The Burden of Sympathy, Auto Press (Detroit, MI), 1984.

(With William C. Yoels) Sociology and Everyday Life, F. E. Peacock (Itasca, IL), 1986, revised edition published as Sociology in Everyday Life, 1993, 3rd edition, with William C. Yoels and Barbara H. Vann, Waveland Press (Long Grove, IL), 2004.

Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope withMental Illness, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Aging, Self, and Community, edited by J. Gubrium and K. Charmaz, JAI Press (Greenwich, CT), 1992; Inside Social Life: Readings in Sociological Psychology and Microsociology, Roxbury Publishing (Los Angeles, CA), 1998; and The Gerontological Prism, edited by J. Claire and R. Allman, Baywood Publishing (Amityville, NY), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Qualitative Health Research, Qualitative Sociology, Social Report, and Gerontologist.

SIDELIGHTS: David A. Karp is a sociologist and author or coauthor of numerous books, including Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life, Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness, and The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope with Mental Illness. Being Urban, his first book, looks at the interplay between theoretical models of urban life and the real perceptions of people who live in large cities. Particular attention is given to the ways people living urban lives create a sense of community, even though their environment would seem to work against such an effort. In Speaking of Sadness, Karp brings his own personal experiences to his subject, recounting his own bouts of depression, as well as relating the stories of many other chronic depressives. The author examines the ways in which society fosters depression and the ways in which a depressed person affects his entire family.

The Burden of Sympathy addresses the issue of maintaining a good mental state while caring for those who are mentally ill. Drawing on some sixty interviews with people who help to care for a mentally ill relative, Karp shows how caretakers struggle to maintain a balance between giving generously of themselves and being overburdened, between powerful emotions and decisions that call for reason. Questions about what humans owe one another are raised, and the author examines the issues of moral and caring behavior in a society that frequently touts personal fulfillment as the ultimate goal. The author "brings the balanced, objective methodology of a social scientist to the overall topic," commented James Baker in a review for Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "However, it is the family perception of the mental health system that will be most engaging and enlightening to professional readers."

Karp shows that most people who care for a mentally ill person share feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and powerlessness. His book, stated Julia Glynn in Booklist, "is an enriching companion book for anyone seeking advice and solace for handling the issues that arise from loving someone with a mental illness." He speaks out "not only for the obligation of family members to care for their ill relatives, but also for our collective, social obligation to care for these families in crisis," noted Baker. "He suggests that society must struggle with what we owe these families, a struggle that should mirror the family's struggle with its debt to its ill family member. Indeed, he concludes by calling upon government to develop a national policy to save families troubled by the impact of a mentally ill relative."



Karp, David A., Speaking of Sadness: Depression,Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.


Adolescence, summer, 2003, review of The Burden ofSympathy: How Families Cope with Mental Illness, p. 397.

Booklist, September 15, 2000, Julia Glynn, review of The Burden of Sympathy, p. 193.

Journal of the American Academy of Child andAdolescent Psychiatry, March, 2002, James Baker, review of The Burden of Sympathy, p. 360.

Publishers Weekly, August 28, 2000, review of TheBurden of Sympathy, p. 74.


Boston College Web site,http://www.bc.edu/ (November 10, 2004), "David A. Karp."*