University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

Explication and Definition of Mental Health Recovery: A Systematic Review

Marsha Langer Ellison, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Lindsay K. Belanger, Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research
Barbara L. Niles, National Center for PTSD Behavioral Science Division
Leigh C. Evans, VA Boston Healthcare System
Mark S. Bauer, Harvard Medical School


This review assessed the concordance of the literature on recovery with the definition and components of recovery developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Each SAMHSA identified recovery component was first explicated with synonyms and keywords and made mutually exclusive by authors. Inter-rater reliability was established on the coding of the presence of 17 recovery components and dimensions in 67 literature reviews on the recovery concept in mental health. The review indicated that concordance varied across SAMHSA components. The components of recovery with greatest concordance were: individualized/person centered, empowerment, purpose, and hope.