Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Markowitz, Fred E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Mental illness; Mental health services; Journalism; Medical


During the past two and a half decades, recovery has come to dominate mental health policy and the discourse surrounding mental illness. In this thesis, I analyze how recovery from severe mental illness has been constructed within psychiatric journals between 1990 and 2016. I use data-driven qualitative content analysis to describe the discussion of recovery in articles published in the psychiatric journals Psychiatric Services, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, the American Journal of Psychiatry and JAMA Psychiatry since 1990. This discussion centers on four main themes: the meaning of recovery, treatment methods used to promote recovery, the role of service providers in recovery, and recovery-orientated mental health systems. I then argue that the introduction of recovery into mental health care represents the addition of the promotion of mental health, defined as subjective well-being, into the treatment of mental illness. The meaning and components of recovery reflect how a person with mental illness can have a life filled with the positive elements of mental health while still having a mental illness, and the discussion of services that have been adapted or created to best help achieve recovery, the roles both professional and peer service providers have in promoting recovery, and the discussion of changes to the mental health system to become recovery orientated all represent the ways in which mental health care from the level of policy and service design to the day-to-day interactions between service providers and consumers serve to achieve mental health goals along with treating mental disorders.


Advisors: Fred Markowitz.||Committee members: Cassandra Crawford; Jeff Kidder.||Includes bibliographical references.


v, 118 pages




Northern Illinois University

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