Aim: There is no standard definition of “subjective recovery” from psychosis, its nature is currently contested and debated among service-users and professionals. Individual studies have explored conceptualizations of subjective recovery from recent onset psychosis, but there have been no previously published systematic reviews on the topic. The aim of this review was to examine and synthesize quantitative and qualitative studies examining the concept of subjective recovery from recent onset psychosis and identify common factors associated with this recovery process.
Methods: Relevant electronic databases (Medline, CINAHL, PsychInfo and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses) were searched and hand searches were also carried out. Publications in each database from the inceptions of the databases to April 12, 2017 were included. Data from selected articles were extracted using a piloted extraction form and thematic integrative analysis was performed.
Results: Ten studies with different study designs were included in this review. Subjective recovery was conceptualized into 3 main themes: “recovery as outcome”, “recovery as process” and “endeavours during recovery”. Factors contributing to subjective recovery were categorized into 4 main themes; “treatment related”, “illness related”, “individual related” and “social environment” related. Non-linear and subjective nature of the process of recovery were reinforced by the review findings.
Conclusions: Studies in subjective recovery from recent onset psychosis are limited to developed countries. Acquiring hope and self-confidence, overcoming symptoms and stigma through mobilizing all resources available were accentuated in conceptualizing subjective recovery and related factors. Recovery-oriented health care services should acknowledge individual differences and involve service users in their care decisions.