Assessing Mental Illness Recovery (MARS)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01043653
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 7, 2010
Results First Posted : January 10, 2017
Last Update Posted : March 8, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development

Brief Summary:
In 2003 the VA Undersecretary's Action Agenda mandated that mental health services throughout the system be transformed to a recovery model. That mandate and many of the Workgroup recommendations have since been formalized in the Uniform Mental Health Services Package, which specifies a range of recovery-oriented services that must be available to veterans. A key aspect of these policy mandates is the need to assess recovery status of veterans and to monitor their progress over time as a way to evaluate the effectiveness of recovery services. However, there is no established instrument that is suitable for system-wide application. The purpose of this project is to develop a reliable, valid and practical measure of recovery, and use the measure in a study to better understand recovery in individuals with serious mental illness.

Condition or disease
Serious Mental Illness

Detailed Description:

Mental health care in the United States and Western Europe is undergoing a seismic shift in values. The paternalistic, medical model of care that has dominated practice for more than 75-years is being challenged by an activist group of consumer-survivors, with the support of public officials and an increasing number of professionals. The centerpiece of this shift is the recovery model, which assumes that all consumers have the capacity to improve and develop a life distinct from their illness. The consumer model of recovery involves a non-linear process in which the consumer gradually adapts to, and moves beyond the illness. It emphasizes hope, empowerment, and control of one's life. This model stands in contrast to scientific and clinical models, which view recovery as an outcome, primarily involving reduced symptoms and improved functional capacity.

The public health significance of the consumer perspective is underscored by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003), which enunciated two guiding principles for mental health services in the US: First, services and treatments must be consumer and family centered, geared to give consumers real and meaningful choices about treatment options and providers. Second, care must focus on increasing consumers' ability to successfully cope with life's challenges, on facilitating recovery, and on building resilience, not just managing symptoms. In response to the Commission report the VA has mandated a shift to a recovery model and committed a large amount of resources to implementing it throughout the system.

Despite this political and programmatic change, there is little scientific literature on the nature of recovery or the factors that contribute to it. Systems change is being driven by social mandate and consensual agreement rather than empirical support. It is essential that the consumer model of recovery be subjected to empirical study if it is to have a meaningful and lasting impact on systems and patterns of care. It is also critical to evaluate the recovery-oriented systems of care that have been developed. Two factors that have limited empirical study of the construct and treatment programs are: a) the absence of a scientifically grounded conceptual model of recovery, and b) the lack of a reliable and valid assessment instrument to measure recovery status. The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate a psychometrically sound assessment scale using Bandura's social cognitive theory as a conceptual model for the recovery construct.

The Specific Aims are: 1) to evaluate and refine the draft version of the Maryland Assessment of Recovery in Serious Mental Illness (MARS), 2) evaluate its test-retest reliability and validity, and 3) to examine recovery status and the relationship of recovery to hypothesized mediators and moderators over a 1-year retest interval.

Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 250 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Assessing Recovery in Veterans With Serious Mental Illness
Study Start Date : January 2010
Actual Primary Completion Date : July 2013
Actual Study Completion Date : September 2013

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Mental Disorders

Maryland Assessment of Recovery in Serious Mental Illness
Individuals with serious mental illness treated in mental health outpatient programs

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) [ Time Frame: ~1-year ]
    The PANSS is a clinician-rated measure of the presence and severity of symptoms of psychosis. A total score was calculated by averaging the responses on the items (range=1 to 7) scores, with higher scores indicating greater severity of psychiatric symptoms.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Maryland Assessment of Recovery in Serious Mental Illness [ Time Frame: ~ 1-year ]
    The Maryland Assessment of Recovery in Serious Mental Illness is a self-report measure of recovery in people with serious mental illness. A total score was calculated by summing item responses (range=25 to 125), with higher total scores indicating greater self-reported recovery.

Biospecimen Retention:   None Retained
no specimens collected

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   25 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population

We have elected to focus on individuals meeting accepted criteria for serious mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, bipolar I disorder (with mania), and major depression with psychosis. Individuals meeting these criteria represent a large population with significant costs and health concerns for VA. Further, they are the primary target of efforts to transform mental health care in VA to a recovery model, making this an arena in particular need of a sound recovery instrument.

We have elected to limit our sample to people in treatment for several reasons. One can surmise that most people not in treatment are new cases, very ill (e.g., homeless), or doing very well.


Inclusion Criteria:

  • chart diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder I (with mania), or major depression with psychotic features, with a history of a minimum of 2 psychotic exacerbations, or Psychosis NOS
  • A minimum of 2 psychotic exacerbations(confirmed by medical record, provider report, or patient self-report);
  • Are receiving services from participating study sites and have had a minimum of two service visits within the last 6 months;
  • Have received mental health services for a minimum of 3-years;
  • Age between 25 and 65;
  • Able to provide informed consent; and
  • Able to complete protocol assessments (estimation from medical record and/or mental health provider that person can read at 5th grade level and sustain attention to study tasks for required period of time).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Severe or profound mental retardation as indicated by chart review

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01043653

United States, District of Columbia
Washington DC VA Medical Center
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 20420
United States, Maryland
University of Maryland, Division of Psychiatry
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21201
VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21201
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Alan S. Bellack, PhD VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01043653     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: D7156-R
First Posted: January 7, 2010    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: January 10, 2017
Last Update Posted: March 8, 2017
Last Verified: January 2017
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
serious mental illness

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mental Disorders