Background: Conceptualisations of recovery involve more than just symptom amelioration and include the development of hope, meaning and self-identity. Goal attainment increases wellbeing within non-clinical samples and mental health consumers report its facilitative value for psychological recovery. There is a lack of empirical data regarding the impact of goal progress/attainment on mental health outcome for consumers with enduring mental illness.
Aims: 1) To examine whether baseline measures of symptoms, functioning and recovery are associated with greater goal progress, and 2) to examine the impact of goal attainment on improvements in mental health outcome.
Method: Seventy-one consumers with enduring mental illness who were receiving case-management support from both government and non-government mental health services in eastern Australia participated in the study. Level of attainment for case-management goals was examined against mental health outcome measures (functional and recovery measures) for the corresponding goal-setting period.
Results: Path modelling indicated that goal attainment mediated the relationship between baseline (pre-goal setting) levels of symptom distress and progress on recovery constructs; hope, self-confidence, sense of purpose and positive identity.
Conclusions: When symptoms are perceived as less distressing consumers are better able to progress toward their case-management goals, which in turn promotes aspects of psychological recovery.
Keywords: Goal setting, recovery, mental health, case-management