Measuring recovery

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Dr Duncan Raistrick

Consultant Psychiatrist

Duncan Raistrick qualified in medicine from the University of Leeds in 1971, trained in General Practice in Nottingham, specialised in neurology in Leeds and Liverpool, and in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London.  He became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1977, then Fellow in 1999, and completed a masters from the University of London in 1978. He has been Medical Adviser on Alcohol to the Chief Medical Officer, and a member of many government and clinical advisory groups. He is co-director of RESULT: a programme of research into outcome and process measures and has published research papers and books – visit Linkedin or ResearchGate.  Research interests are the nature of dependence, outcome measures, and therapist characteristics and the therapeutic process.



Aims  i) To quantify support across five stakeholder groups for 20 recovery indicators previously generated from focus groups of service users and concerned others; ii) To create a brief recovery questionnaire.

Method Indicators were rated by stakeholders for their overall importance and the three most important ranked.  The factor structure was determined by principal component analysis.  

Findings  The initial 20 recovery indicators covered the spectrum of substance misuse, social, and psychological domains.  Positive endorsement of each indicator by stakeholder group ranged from 53% to 74% of the maximum support possible with stronger support from service users and concerned others than from practitioners and commissioners.  The greatest number of individuals in each stakeholder group, from 86% of combined problem drinkers and drug takers to 36% of specialist practitioners, rated abstinence as the single most important aspect of recovery and wellbeing was rated second most important.  The indicators were refined to create a 12 item Addiction Recovery Questionnaire – the items have good independent evidence of importance to outcome to support their inclusion.

Originality  The questionnaire is derived solely from the views of service users and concerned others – it is a brief tool with high face validity and suitable for routine use.


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