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Mental health recovery narratives and their impact on recipients: systematic review and narrative synthesis

Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Morgan, Kate; Llewellyn-Beardsley, Joy; Ramsay, Amy; Mcgranahan, Rose; Gillard, Steve; Hui, Ada; Ng, Fiona; Schneider, Justine; Booth, Susie; Pinfold, Vanessa; Davidson, Larry; Franklin, Donna; Bradstreet, Simon; Arbour, Simone; Slade, Mike


Stefan Rennick-Egglestone

Susie Booth

Vanessa Pinfold

Larry Davidson

Donna Franklin

Simon Bradstreet

Simone Arbour

Mike Slade

Kate Morgan

Joy Llewellyn-Beardsley

Amy Ramsay

Rose Mcgranahan

Steve Gillard

Ada Hui

Research Assistant on Theneon Study

Justine Schneider


Objective. Mental health recovery narratives are often shared in peer support work and anti-stigma campaigns. Internet technology provides access to an almost unlimited number of narratives, and yet little is known about how they impact on recipients. The aim of this study was to develop a conceptual framework characterising the impact of recovery narratives on recipients.
Method. A systematic review of evidence about the impact of mental health recovery narratives was conducted. Searches used electronic databases (n=9), reference tracking, hand-searching of selected journals (n=2), grey literature searching and expert consultation (n=7). A conceptual framework was generated through a thematic analysis of included papers, augmented by consultation with a Lived Experience Advisory Panel.
Results. 8,137 articles were screened. Five papers were included. Forms of impact were: Connectedness; Understanding of recovery; Reduction in stigma; Validation of personal experience; Affective responses. Behavioural responses. Impact is moderated by characteristics of the recipient, context and narrative. Increases in eating disorder behaviours was identified as a harmful response specific to recipients with eating disorders.
Conclusions. Mental health recovery narratives can promote recovery. Recovery narratives might be useful for clients with limited access to peers, and in on-line interventions targeted at reducing social isolation in rural or remote locations, but support is needed for the processing of the strong emotions which can arise. Caution is needed for use with specific clinical populations.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 2, 2019
Print ISSN 0706-7437
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Publisher URL


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