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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00089

Identity in personal recovery for mothers with mental illness

  • 1Mental Health Services, South West Healthcare, Australia
  • 2Department of Rural Health, Monash University, Australia

Developing a ‘positive identity’ is considered a core component of personal recovery, and mothering offers meaning in life and a valued identity. Few studies have highlighted the factors influencing identity within a personal recovery paradigm for mothers with mental illness. This study explores how mothers describe their identity in relation to recovery, including the factors that influence identity.
Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 women who were mothers and experienced mental illness. Women defined their self-concept broadly, accentuating motherhood, but also including vocational, community and social roles. Analysis revealed six categories: defining self, becoming a mother, being a ‘good’ mum, feeling different, doing it my way and speaking out.
Valuing identity in parenting was found to be linked to recovery. Services may facilitate personal recovery by supporting mothers to enhance a self-concept associated with mothering, as well as other diverse attributes and roles.

Key words: Gender; Identity; Mental illness; Motherhood; Personal recovery

Keywords: Identity, Personal Recovery, gender, mental illness, mothering

Received: 21 Jun 2018; Accepted: 07 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Giovanni De Girolamo, Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli (IRCCS), Italy

Reviewed by:

Anke Maatz, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Florian Hotzy, Psychiatrische Klinik der Universität Zürich, Switzerland  

Copyright: © 2019 Hine, Maybery and Goodyear. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rochelle H. Hine, South West Healthcare, Mental Health Services, Warrnambool, 3280, VIC, Australia,