Using the Recovery Assessment Scale

Recovery-oriented care is an important part of behavioral health services, including those delivered in an integrated setting. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) definition of recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”

However, recovery-oriented research is still a relatively new field compared with other research that focuses on symptoms or functioning related to mental health and substance use disorders. Because recovery is a subjective experience, it may be difficult to assess. The Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS) was developed to measure five factors deemed important to recovery:

  • Personal confidence and hope
  • Willingness to ask for help
  • Goal and success orientation
  • Reliance on others
  • Not being dominated by symptoms

Mark Salzer and Eugene Brusilovskiy reviewed the psychometric properties of the RAS in their article “Advancing Recovery Science: Reliability and Validity Properties of the Recovery Assessment Scale.” They found evidence that this assessment tool is a reliable and valid way to measure recovery in behavioral health research.

Providers may also want to use the RAS in clinical settings. A tool such as the RAS may be useful to primary care physicians in assessing their patient’s recovery and improvement over time. Providers offering behavioral health services could use the RAS subscales to identify areas that need additional attention, in order to strengthen and enhance their patients’ overall recovery.