Applying stages of change models to recovery from serious mental illness: Contributions and limitations

Larry Davidson, David Roe, Raquel Andres-Hyman, Priscilla Ridgway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on recovery has proliferated in recent years. Some investigators have advanced stages of change models that segment the overall process of recovery into discrete and sequential phases, through which a person progresses from being overwhelmed by mental illness to taking on an increasingly active role in understanding, managing and overcoming the impact of psychiatric disability. The authors review this body of literature, and reflect on the contributions and limitations of stages of change approaches to understanding mental health recovery. They conclude that stages of change models need to more accurately reflect the non-linear nature of recovery, the fact that processes are influenced by person-disorder-environment interactions, and the fact that the person's own motivations for change and decisions in this regard-while of central importance-are by no means exclusive factors in recovery, as they do not take into account sufficiently such issues as discrimination and the presence or absence of crucial resources and supports. A richer set of concepts is needed as we continue to deepen our understanding of the complex, dynamic and ongoing process of mental health recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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