Chronic illness and well-being: Promoting quality of life with a broadened concept of recovery

Jürgen Beckmann, Maximilian Huber, Caroline S. Andonian-Dierks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Despite illness, some people report good well-being and a satisfying quality of life (QOL). It is proposed that recovery plays a crucial role for chronically ill people to achieve well-being and a good QOL. This implies that recovery is addressed from a broader perspective than merely healing somatic as well as mental illnesses. In this chapter, recovery is conceptualised as a general resource that can act as a buffer against the stress of illness and the negative experiences associated with it. If people are engulfed by their illness, underrecovery is likely to prevail. The person may have no access to personal relevant resources for recovery and lack the capacity to find individual best recovery. Low QOL would be the consequence. Traditional Western biomedicine has not primarily been oriented towards “repairing” medical problems and not promoting well-being and the quality of life of human beings. As a result of medical paternalism and deficit-based approaches illness is commonly defined as a deviation from the norm that needs to be restored. To achieve recovery that promotes a good QOL despite (chronic) illness, patients need to be empowered to become active agents of their well-being. Thus, their self-determination must be enhanced and their capacity for self-regulation increased to achieve recovery as a resource that enables individuals not only to recover from stress but also to show resilience against the circumstances of their illness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFostering Recovery and Well-being in a Healthy Lifestyle
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological, Somatic, and Organizational Prevention Approaches
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781003844464
ISBN (Print)9781032168609
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


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