Recovery from mental illness is clearly completely determined, with the personality of the individual, the individual’s situation, and the nature of the mental illness all playing a role. One aspect of the individual that has received increasing attention is the degree to which the person identifies as someone with a mental illness.
Redefining a positive self-identity may be a difficult process after experiencing a mental illness, as negative self-representations associated with mental illness may become internalised and not easily challenged, making recovery more difficult. Consistent with this possibility, research suggests that recovery from mental illness is linked to a change in identity from that of a mentally ill person to that of a mentally healthy person. Although research on identity and mental illness has made important progress in understanding recovery, this work has yet to examine aspects of identity outside of conscious awareness. Because most of the research in this area focuses on the narratives that people with a mental illness tell about themselves and their experiences, it only addresses aspects of identity that are accessible to introspection.
The goal of the current proposal is to expand this line of research on mental illness and identity to consider aspects of identity that are unavailable to conscious reflection, but that nevertheless might have an influence on recovery.
Australian Research Council - Linkage Program
Courtney von Hippel (UQ); William von Hippel (UQ); Rose Grenville (Aftercare)