Positive mental health as a predictor of recovery from mental illness

Mathew Iasiello, Joep van Agteren, Corey Keys, Eimear Muir-Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)



High levels of positive mental health protect individuals from mental illness. This study investigates longitudinal change in positive mental health as a predictor of mental illness recovery in a cohort group.


Using data from the 1995 and 2005 Midlife in the United States cross-sectional surveys (n = 1,723), logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio that individuals diagnosed with a mental illness in 1995 would have recovered in 2005 based on whether their level of positive mental health changed over the 10-year period.


Individuals who maintained or gained the highest levels of positive mental health were more than 27.6 and 7.4 times, respectively, more likely to recover when compared to those who maintained the lowest level of positive mental health. Those who maintained or gained moderate levels of positive mental health had more moderate likelihood of recovery, and those whose positive mental health declined to the lowest levels had no significantly different likelihood of recovery compared to participants whose positive mental health remained low.


This study was limited by the age of the data, and the inability to control for some predictors of recovery.


This study suggests that positive mental health may be an important resource for individuals to recover from mental illness and stay mentally healthy. Results point to the need to include positive mental health assessment and interventions into mental health care systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-230
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


  • Positive mental health
  • Recovery
  • Complete state model of mental health
  • Mental health care reform


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