Biography of Kay Redfield Jamison

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison is a clinical psychologist and writer who has dedicated her professional career to the study of manic-depressive illness (also known as bipolar disorder). Over the course of her career studying manic-depressive illness, Dr. Jamison has focused primarily on its relation to suicide, creativity, personality and interpersonal behavior, as well as the effects of medicine compliance on manic depressives. She knows first-hand how impactful the disease can be, as she was diagnosed as manic depressive in her early adulthood.

Dr. Jamison has co-authored the standard medical text on manic-depressive illness along with a number of nonfiction works including Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, and An Unquiet Mind. Dr. Jamison was taught, trained, and tenured at University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her B.A. and M.A. in clinical psychology in 197l, attended a residency at the Neuropsychiatric Institute in 1974, and received her Ph.D. in 1975. Over the course of her career, Dr. Jamison has received many awards for her work, including a MacArthur Award, the Lewis Thomas Prize, and the Sarnet Prize from the National Academy of Medicine. In 2017, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire. Dr. Jamison currently works at Johns Hopkins University as the Co-Director of the Mood Disorders Center, a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders. Dr. Jamison has spent much of her career in the United Kingdom, and in An Unquiet Mind she describes these times as opportunities to escape the stressors of her life in the United States. She spent some time during her undergraduate studies at University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and worked as a distinguished lecturer in the University of Oxford in 2003 while on sabbatical from UCLA.

Jamison was born into a military family, and as a result spent her early years moving from place to place. Her parents encouraged her love of medicine from an early age, and she worked as a candy striper at the hospital on the Andrews Air Force base. She developed a deep appreciation for the arts early in her life. She brought this love into her future career, through authoring a number of fiction and nonfiction works, as well as facilitating a number of concerts that linked her studies of mental illness with those of artistic expression.

Study Guides on Works by Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind is a memoir written in 2009 by Dr. Kay Jamison, in which she recounts her lifelong struggle with manic-depressive illness. The tone of An Unquiet Mind varies between one of informal recollection of life events and one of a clinical...