This paper addresses the degree of congruence between recovery principles and research practices in a leading Australian youth mental health research centre. Investigators address the responsibility of research systems in promoting social change, through a critical perspective of the ways in which research practices support or stifle recovery philosophy. Method: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis was undertaken with a sample of research studies from the largest youth mental health centre in Australia. Analysis involved a critical interpretation of the data for meaning, context and philosophical influences. Results: Results revealed that despite an increasing number of studies addressing recovery-congruent topics, research methods showed little progression towards enacting recovery principles. Investigators interpret the ways in which the continued dominance of experimental designs informed by the Positivist paradigm lacks recovery practices of user involvement or acknowledgement of multiple perspectives. Conclusions: Implications of a research culture that privileges dominant paradigms are discussed. Investigators assert the need for greater diversity in research methods in youth mental health, and discuss the relevance of participatory research to recovery principles. Systemic issues are explored, with suggestions for implementing change both in, and beyond, the Australian context.
Keywords: youth mental health, recovery, participatory research, research paradigm