Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maryann Syers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Vern Bloom, MSW

Third Advisor

Marnette Doyle, MSW


Only recently has the notion of recovery for people diagnosed with a serious and persistent mental illness been considered a possibility. Because of this, research on the topic is limited. This qualitative study sought to explore what the concept of recovery means to people diagnosed with a mental illness. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data. Grounded theory analysis was used to identify common themes. Factors that were identified as hindering the participant's recovery were the following: frustration with the 'system' and dehumanizing mental health professionals. Factors that were identified as fostering their recovery included: medications, a sense of purpose, support from family, friends and significant others, mental health services, accepting the illness, gaining new insights and knowledge, and professionals that go the extra mile. To conclude this study, the implications of the findings to social work practice, policy and future research are discussed.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Schmitt.K

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Social Work Commons