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Not the story you want? Assessing the fit of a conceptual framework characterising mental health recovery narratives

Llewellyn-Beardsley, Joy; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Bradstreet, Simon; Davidson, Larry; Franklin, Donna; Hui, Ada; McGranahan, Rose; Morgan, Kate; Pollock, Kristian; Ramsay, Amy; Smith, Roger; Thornicroft, Graham; Slade, Mike


Simon Bradstreet

Larry Davidson

Donna Franklin

Assistant Professor

Rose McGranahan

Kate Morgan

Amy Ramsay

Roger Smith

Graham Thornicroft

Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion


Narratives of recovery have been central to the development of the recovery approach in mental health. However, there has been a lack of clarity around definitions. A recent conceptual framework characterised recovery narratives based on a systematic review and narrative synthesis of existing literature, but was based on a limited sample. The aims of this study were to assess the relevance of the framework to the narratives of more diverse populations, and to develop a refined typology intended to inform narrative-based research, practice and intervention development. Method: 77 narrative interviews were conducted with respondents from four under-researched mental health sub-populations across England. Deductive and inductive analysis was used to assess the relevance of the dimensions and types of the preliminary typology to the interview narratives. Results: Five or more dimensions were identifiable within 97% of narratives. The preliminary typology was refined to include new definitions and types. The typology was found not to be relevant to two narratives, whose narrators expressed a preference for non-verbal communication. These are presented as case studies to define the limits of the typology. Conclusion: The refined typology, based on the largest study to date of recovery narratives, provides a defensible theoretical base for clinical and research use with a range of clinical populations. Implications for practice include ensuring a heterogeneous selection of narratives as resources to support recovery, and developing new approaches to supporting non-verbal narrative construction.


Llewellyn-Beardsley, J., Rennick-Egglestone, S., Bradstreet, S., Davidson, L., Franklin, D., Hui, A., …Slade, M. (2020). Not the story you want? Assessing the fit of a conceptual framework characterising mental health recovery narratives. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 55, 295–308.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 25, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 19, 2020
Journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Print ISSN 0933-7954
Electronic ISSN 1433-9285
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Pages 295–308
Keywords Epidemiology; Health(social science); Psychiatry and Mental health; Social Psychology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 4 June 2019; Accepted: 9 October 2019; First Online: 25 October 2019; : ; : The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.; : All persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study. The study has obtained Ethical Committee approval (Nottingham 2 REC 17/EM/0401) and, therefore, has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.