Mood disorder in the personal correspondence of Robert Burns: testing a novel inter-disciplinary approach

Hansen, M. , Smith, D. J. and Carruthers, G. (2018) Mood disorder in the personal correspondence of Robert Burns: testing a novel inter-disciplinary approach. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 48(2), pp. 165-174. (doi:10.4997/JRCPE.2018.212)

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Publisher's URL: http://www.rcpe.ac.uk/journal/journal/mood-disorder-personal-correspondence-robert-burns-testing-novel-interdisciplinary

Abstract

Robert Burns has long been recognised as someone who experienced episodes of melancholia, but no detailed, systematic and objective assessment of his mental health has been undertaken. We tested a novel methodology, combining psychiatric and literary approaches, to assess the feasibility of using Burns’s extensive personal correspondence as a source of evidence for assessing the presence of symptoms of a clinically significant mood disorder. We con rmed the potential of this approach and identi ed putative evidence of episodes of depression and hypomania within the correspondence. While not conclusive of a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder, this work highlights a need for further systematic examination of Burns’s mental health and how this may have in uenced his work.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Melancholy, medical humanities, mood disorder, retrospective diagnosis, Robert Burns.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carruthers, Professor Gerard and Hansen, Mrs Moira and Smith, Professor Daniel
Authors: Hansen, M., Smith, D. J., and Carruthers, G.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Scottish Literature
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Publisher:Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
ISSN:1478-2715
ISSN (Online):2042-8189
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
First Published:First published in Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 48(2): 165-174
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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