Continuity of Life Interview: Development and Evaluation of a Novel Instrument for the Assessment of Recovery from Mental Illness

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Aleksandar Janca
Alyssa Lillee
Adelln Sng
John Cooper


Background: Recovery is not simply the absence of symptoms, but a journey and process of establishing a meaningful life. This concept of recovery aligns closely with the principles of person-centred medicine. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of a measure entitled Continuity of Life Interview (COLI) that could capture an individual’s perceptions of continuity of life, and that might be used in the assessment of recovery in the spirit and context of person-centred medicine. Method: Thirty mental health clients participated in the COLI interview at two time points to examine its test-retest reliability. Additionally, the first COLI interview was rated by the interviewer and an observer to assess its inter-rater reliability. Results: Results showed that the COLI had high internal consistency and inter-rater reliability, and moderate test-retest reliability. The COLI was also perceived as a tool relevant to clients’ clinical care, and in a number of cases, enhanced clinicians’ understanding of their clients.Discussion: The COLI was found to be a reliable and suitable instrument that complements the concepts of recovery and person-centred medicine. The COLI appears to be a feasible and reliable instrument that may engage the client and clinician in important conversations about provision of care and engender hopefulness for clients and clinicians in the recovery process.Conclusion: The assessment of an individual’s perceptions of continuity of life using COLI may have important implications for guiding treatment, management and recovery from mental illness and thus is in line with the key principles embedded in person-centred medicine.

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