Models of mental health problems: a quasi-systematic review of theoretical approaches

Richter, Dirk; Dixon, Jeremy (2022). Models of mental health problems: a quasi-systematic review of theoretical approaches Journal of Mental Health, 32(2), pp. 396-406. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/09638237.2021.2022638

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Background: Mental health and mental illness have been contested concepts for decades, with a wide variety of models being proposed. To date, there has been no exhaustive review that provides an overview of existing models. Aim: To conduct a quasi-systematic review of theoretical models of mental health problems. Methods: We searched academic databases, reference lists, and an electronic bookshop for literature that proposed, endorsed, reviewed, or critiqued such models. Papers, book chapters, and books were included with material by researchers, clinicians, non-medical professions, and service users writing between 2000 to June 2020 being considered. The study was registered with the Open Science Framework (No. Results: Based on 110 publications, we identified 34 different models which were grouped into five broader categories. Many models bridged two or more categories. Biological and psychological approaches had the largest number of models while social, consumer and cultural models were less diversified. Due to the non-empirical nature of the publications, several limitations in terms of search and quality appraisal apply. Conclusions: We conclude that mental health care needs to acknowledge the diversity of theoretical models on mental health problems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Nursing
School of Health Professions > Nursing > Innovation in the Field of Mental Health and Psychiatric Care


Richter, Dirk0000-0002-6215-6110 and
Dixon, Jeremy


B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry




Taylor & Francis




Dirk Richter

Date Deposited:

23 Feb 2022 12:16

Last Modified:

23 May 2023 12:50

Publisher DOI:





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