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Self and narrative in schizophrenia: time to author a new story
  1. D Roe1,
  2. L Davidson2
  1. 1Rutgers University, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven CT, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 David Roe
 PhD, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, 30 College Ave, New Brunswick NJ 08901, USA; droe{at}


The prevailing, clinical view of schizophrenia, as reflected in the psychiatric literature, suggests both that people with schizophrenia have lost their sense of self and that they have a diminished capacity to create coherent narratives about their own lives. Drawing on our empirical research in the growing area of recovery, we describe not only the disruptions and discontinuities introduced by the illness and its social and personal consequences, but also the person’s efforts to overcome these, to reconstruct a sense of self, to regain agency and to create a coherent life narrative. We suggest in closing that, rather than simply being a byproduct of recovery, these processes of re-authoring one’s life story are actually integral components of the recovery process itself.

  • schizophrenia
  • SMI (Severe Mental Illness)
  • narrative
  • self
  • recovery
  • qualitative

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  • Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH T32MH016242) to David Roe.