Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Social Welfare

First Advisor

Phyllis Solomon


Objective: This study was conducted to investigate how adults with serious mental illness learn and utilize an illness self-management framework through a program called Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) to pursue recovery. Methods: The study employed an exploratory sequential mixed methods design. The qualitative phase used an interpretive descriptive approach with thematic analysis. Data were collected from three focus groups, 10 in-depth interviews, and member checks to investigate how participants learn and utilize WRAP’s framework and to identify major facilitators and barriers. The quantitative phase used an anonymous online survey (N=82) to test qualitative findings about the degree to which problem-solving confidence and self-reflection and insight predict the degree of perceived recovery for WRAP users with serious mental illness. Results: Participants used WRAP to increase self-reflection and insight about their recovery needs and goals; to develop effective strategies to restore, maintain, and advance wellness; and to rebuild a positive outlook of themselves and their interactions with others, augmented by increased hope and empowerment about their abilities to successfully pursue recovery. Problem-solving and social support were identified as major facilitators and barriers to learning and using WRAP. Problem-solving confidence (p<.001) and social support (p<.001) were the main predictors of the degree of perceived recovery, and they may work in tandem to help people learn and use WRAP’s illness self management framework. Conclusions: WRAP appears consistent with a recovery-orientation, and WRAP users may benefit from additional group support that incorporates formal problem-solving strategies and ongoing, reciprocal peer and social support to assist in the adaptation and implementation of recovery strategies prospectively as problems, life circumstances, and recovery-oriented goals change.