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Development and Evaluation of a Recovery College Fidelity Measure

Toney, Rebecca; Knight, Jane; Hamill, Kate; Taylor, Anna; Henderson, Claire; Crowther, Adam; Meddings, Sara; Barbic, Skye; Jennings, Helen; Pollock, Kristian; Bates, Peter; Repper, Julie; Slade, Mike

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Rebecca Toney

Jane Knight

Kate Hamill

Anna Taylor

Claire Henderson

Adam Crowther

Sara Meddings

Skye Barbic

Helen Jennings

Peter Bates

Julie Repper

Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion


Objective: Recovery Colleges are widespread, with little empirical research on their key components. This study aimed to characterise key components of Recovery Colleges, and to develop and evaluate (i) a developmental checklist and (ii) a quantitative fidelity measure.
Methods: Key components were identified through a systematised literature review, international expert consultation (n=77) and semi-structured interviews with Recovery College managers across England (n=10). A checklist was developed, and refined through semi-structured interviews with Recovery College students, trainers and managers (n=44) in three sites. A fidelity measure was adapted from the checklist and evaluated with Recovery College managers (n=39, 52%), clinicians providing psychoeducational courses (n=11) and adult education lecturers (n=10).
Results: Twelve components were identified, comprising seven non-modifiable components (Valuing equality; Learning; Tailored to the student; Co-production of the Recovery College; Social connectedness; Community focus; and Commitment to recovery) and five modifiable components (Available to all; Location; Distinctiveness of course content; Strengths-based; and Progressive). The checklist has service user student, peer trainer and manager versions. The fidelity measure meets scaling assumptions and demonstrates adequate internal consistency (0.72), test-retest reliability (0.60), content validity and discriminant validity.
Conclusions: Co-production and an orientation to adult learning should be the highest priority in developing Recovery Colleges. The creation of the first theory-based empirically-evaluated developmental checklist and fidelity measure (both downloadable at for Recovery Colleges will help service users understand what Recovery Colleges offer, will inform decision-making by clinicians and commissioners about Recovery Colleges,and will enable formal evaluation of their impact on students.


Toney, R., Knight, J., Hamill, K., Taylor, A., Henderson, C., Crowther, A., …Slade, M. (2019). Development and Evaluation of a Recovery College Fidelity Measure. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry / Revue Canadienene de Psychiatrie, 64(6), 405-414.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 30, 2018
Publication Date 2019-06
Deposit Date Oct 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 8, 2018
Journal The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0706-7437
Electronic ISSN 1497-0015
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 64
Issue 6
Pages 405-414
Public URL
Publisher URL


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