Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 1827–1835 | Cite as

Measures of the recovery orientation of mental health services: systematic review

  • J. Williams
  • M. Leamy
  • V. Bird
  • C. Harding
  • J. Larsen
  • C. Le Boutillier
  • L. Oades
  • M. Slade
Original Paper



The review aimed to (1) identify measures that assess the recovery orientation of services; (2) discuss how these measures have conceptualised recovery, and (3) characterise their psychometric properties.


A systematic review was undertaken using seven sources. The conceptualisation of recovery within each measure was investigated by rating items against a conceptual framework of recovery comprising five recovery processes: connectedness; hope and optimism; identity; meaning and purpose; and empowerment. Psychometric properties of measures were evaluated using quality criteria.


Thirteen recovery orientation measures were identified, of which six met eligibility criteria. No measure was a good fit with the conceptual framework. No measure had undergone extensive psychometric testing and none had data on test–retest reliability or sensitivity to change.


Many measures have been developed to assess the recovery orientation of services. Comparisons between the measures were hampered by the different conceptualisations of recovery used and by the lack of uniformity on the level of organisation at which services were assessed. This situation makes it a challenge for services and researchers to make an informed choice on which measure to use. Further work is needed to produce measures with a transparent conceptual underpinning and demonstrated psychometric properties.


Outcome measures Reliability and validity Mental health services Systematic review 



The study is independent research commissioned through an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (grant RP-PG-0707-10040), and in relation to the NIHR Specialist Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Williams
    • 1
  • M. Leamy
    • 1
  • V. Bird
    • 1
  • C. Harding
    • 2
  • J. Larsen
    • 3
  • C. Le Boutillier
    • 1
  • L. Oades
    • 4
  • M. Slade
    • 1
  1. 1.Section for Recovery, Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Division of Mental Health Services & Policy Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and SurgeonsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.RethinkLondonUK
  4. 4.Australian Institute of Business WellbeingUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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