REVIEW – August 2003

Sense of coherence in the context of health


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Sense of coherence is the core concept of Aaron Antonovsky’s salutogenetic approach to health, which stands for resource of general resistance, the personality’s disposition for experiencing the world as comprehensive, manageable and meaningful. Childhood experiences, especially consistency, underload-overload balance and valued social activity have crucial importance in development of the sense of coherence. However, there is no unanimous point of view concerning the stability and change of the sense of coherence in adulthood – the impact of certain life events and stress may diminish one’s sense of coherence and potential changes are not as rare as Antonovsky supposed. The research field is also open to facilities strengthening the sense of coherence. Studies have shown that the sense of coherence is an important factor explaining coping with stress as well as maintaining of physical and mental health. Research findings have demonstrated the important impact of the sense of coherence on treatment outcome and acceptance and coping with illness or disability. The aim of this article was to describe the concept of the sense of coherence and to give an overview of the results of the application of the sense of coherence in health research as well as in the context of health disturbances.