Sorting it out: Eliciting consumer priorities for recovery in supportive housing

Mimi Choy-Brown, Deborah K. Padgett, Bikki Tran Smith, Emmy Tiderington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to understand participant priorities in their personal recovery journey and their perspectives of recovery domains. A card-sort data-gathering technique was employed to elicit priorities in recovery from consumers in supportive housing programs serving adults who were formerly homeless with severe mental illnesses in New York City. Participants (N = 38) were asked to sort 12 cards printed with recovery domains in order of importance and describe the meaning attached to each domain. Mental health (95%), physical health (89%), and housing (92%) were the domains most frequently included and prioritized in the top three rankings. Family (76%) and partner (74%) were also frequently included and endorsed as most important second only to mental health. Housing was prioritized yet rated most important less often (58%). Work, school, hobbies, program, friends, and neighborhood were less frequently endorsed. “Card-sort talk” revealed critical understanding of participants’ priorities and their reasons for endorsing other domains less frequently. Most important to participants was regaining functional independence through improved mental and physical health and access to housing. With underlying principles of efficiency and empowerment, card sort is a promising engagement technique for providers to elicit consumer priorities in their own recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • Mental health recovery
  • qualitative
  • supportive housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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