Social Processes of Young Adults’ Recovery and Identity Formation during Life-Disruptive Mental Distress—A Meta-Ethnography

Ida Marie Skou Storm*, Anne Kathrine Kousgaard Mikkelsen, Mari Holen, Lisbeth Hybholt, Stephen Fitzgerald Austin, Lene Lauge Berring

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewpeer review


Young people’s mental health recovery is well-explored in empirical research, yet there is a lack of meta-studies synthesizing the characteristics of young people’s recovery. This meta-ethnography explores young adults’ recovery during life-disruptive experiences of early psychosis or schizophrenia. Based on a systematic literature review search, 11 empirical qualitative studies were included for synthesis. Inspired by young people’s prominent experience of social isolation in the included studies, we applied an interpretive lens of belonging deriving from the sociology of youth. The synthesis presents five themes: (1) expectations of progression in youth in contrast with stagnation during psychosis, (2) feeling isolated, lost and left behind, (3) young adults’ recovery involves belonging with other young people, (4) forming identity positions of growth and disability during psychosis, and the summarizing line of argument, (5) navigating relational complexities in the process of recovery. While suffering from social isolation, young people’s recovery is conceived as getting on with life, like any other young person involving connecting and synchronizing life rhythms with their age peers. Socializing primarily with caring adults entails being stuck in the position of a child, while connecting with young people enables the identity positions of young people. This synthesis can inspire support for young people’s recovery through social inclusion in youth environments.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Udgave nummer17
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The research received funding from Region Zealand Health Scientific Research Foundation: Denmark. Funding number: R22A618.


  • belonging
  • friendship
  • mental health
  • meta-synthesis
  • recovery
  • systematic review
  • young adult

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