Do clinical outcome measures assess consumer-defined recovery?
There is an international call for mental health services to become recovery-oriented, and also to use evidence-based practices. Addressing this call requires recovery-oriented measurement of outcomes and service evaluation. Mental health consumers view recovery as leading as meaningful life, and have criticised traditional clinical measures for being too disability-oriented. This study compares three measures of consumer-defined recovery from enduring mental illness: the Recovery Assessment Scale, the Mental Health Recovery Measure and the Self-Identified Stage of Recovery, with four conventional clinical measures. Correlational analyses supported the convergent validity of the recovery measures, although certain subscales were unrelated to each other. More importantly, little relationship was found between consumer-defined recovery and the clinical measures. Analyses of variance revealed that scores on the recovery measures increased across self-identified stage of recovery, but scores on most clinical measures did not improve consistently across stage of recovery. The findings demonstrate the qualitative difference between the two types of measures, supporting the claim by consumers that clinical measures do not assess important aspects of recovery. There is a need for further research and refinement of recovery measurement, including assessment of stages of recovery, with the aim of including such measures as an adjunct in routine clinical assessment, service evaluation and research.