Differences and similarities between functional and personal recovery in an Asian population: a cluster analytic approach

Psychiatry. Spring 2014;77(1):41-56. doi: 10.1521/psyc.2014.77.1.41.


This study gathers empirical data to test whether two forms of recovery are related: (1) the traditional outcome-based notion of recovery from a mental illness, which is called "functional recovery," and (2) the more recent, consumer-based concept of recovery in mental illness, which is called "personal recovery." A total of 150 Chinese outpatients were recruited, 75 with bipolar disorder and 75 with schizophrenia, as determined by structured clinical interview. Participants were reported to be in clinical remission for at least the previous 6 months by treating psychiatrists. Personal recovery was measured with the Stages of Recovery Scale, and functional recovery was measured with residential and employment status. In addition to clinical and demographic data, self-report measures included functioning (confirmed through chart review) and a survey of the participant's assessment of the importance of various elements of recovery. Personal recovery was significantly correlated with functional recovery; small effect size suggested that the two domains are far from identical. The strength of this correlation was stronger for participants with schizophrenia than for those with bipolar disorder. A cluster analysis also suggested that residential and employment statuses, along with personal recovery scores, were useful in differentiating participants. Patients were more likely to reach better recovery outcomes if they were female, married, had higher family income, and perceived social roles as less important to their recovery. Consistent with the consumer literature, personal recovery is related but still distinct from functional recovery. Personal recovery has more to do with life circumstances than with functioning status alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Hope
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Power, Psychological
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Role
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult