Recovery-oriented perspectives have become accepted worldwide as an alternative to the biomedical approach to conceptualizing and managing severe mental health problems. It has been proposed that one advantage of this is to support self-efficacy amongst people with a lived experience of psychosis, especially when recovery messages are presented by lived experience peers.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the proposed psychological benefits of the recovery paradigm, by testing for possible differential impacts of recovery versus biomedical messages on self-efficacy beliefs and positive emotional state amongst people with experience of psychosis. It was hypothesized that (1) recovery-oriented messages, when presented by lived experience peers, would generate improvements in self-efficacy and positive emotions relative to biomedical messages presented by a professional and (2) recovery-oriented messages delivered by a professional would generate improvements in self-efficacy and positive emotions relative to biomedical messages delivered by a professional. We also explored whether recovery-oriented messages were more impactful when delivered by a lived experience peer versus a professional.
Experimental design with three within-subject video-based conditions.
Fifty-three participants with lived experience of psychosis viewed three videos: (i) people with lived experience sharing their experiences of recovery; (ii) mental health professionals presenting traditional biomedical conceptualizations of psychosis; and (iii) mental health professionals presenting recovery perspectives. Participants provided baseline clinical and demographic information, and post-viewing ratings of experienced changes in self-efficacy and emotional state.
Hypothesis 1 was supported: both self-efficacy and positive emotions were significantly increased by a video of peers sharing personal recovery stories relative to professionals presenting biomedical messages. Hypothesis 2 was partially supported: when comparing videos of recovery versus biomedical messages delivered by professionals, significant relative benefits were found for positive emotions, but not self-efficacy.
This experimental investigation generated a pattern of findings broadly supportive of the assumed psychological benefits of the recovery paradigm for people with lived experiences of psychosis. Findings must be interpreted with caution given the limitations of the present design, but encourage further experimental research to directly test the interpersonal impacts of the recovery paradigm.