The recovery imperative: A critical examination of mid-life women's recovery from depression
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Australia, like other countries in neo-liberal democracies, is grappling with the gendered health 'problem' of depression. More concerning is the issue of recovery and relapse, with depression being the third largest cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALY). In addition, advanced liberal discourses of health position recovery as an exercise of individual responsibility to return to a functioning and productive norm and prevent recurrence. This moral enterprise of health articulates a 'recovery imperative' which overlooks the gendered context which may have created the conditions for women's depression and may in turn impede their recovery. Drawing on insights from governmentality and feminist post-structuralism, the article critically examines the effects of normalized recovery discourses on women's subjectivities. Data for the study were collected between 2005 and 2007 through in-depth interviews with 31 mid-life Australian women. Three key themes; 'in' recovery, 'eight out of ten' recovered, and recovering the authentic self, illustrate how the 'recovery imperative' may be implicated in perpetuating the cycle of recovery and relapse.
Social Science and Medicine
© 2012 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.