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Volume 8 (2008), Pages 451-453
Brief Research Report

Sense of Coherence and Physical Health. A “Copenhagen Interpretation” of Antonovsky's SOC Concept

Interuniversity College for Health and Development Graz, Castle of Seggau, Austria

Received 5 March 2008; Revised 26 March 2008; Accepted 1 April 2008

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2008 P. Christian Endler et al.


According to Antonovsky's (Aaron Antonovsky, 1923–1994) sense of coherence (SOC) model, persons with a high SOC have the ability to benefit from their general defense mechanisms in order to overcome stressful situations. In a health-disease continuum, this leads to the development towards health. However, Antonovsky's global hypothesis that the strength of the SOC may influence the physical health status of a person could not be proven.

Flensborg-Madsen et al. from Copenhagen were able to provide a new access regarding SOC and health. They investigated the mixture of emotional aspects and mental constructions as a possible cause for fairly low correlation between SOC and physical health. Thus, in an empirical way, they described “emotional coherence” in relation to physical health, while “mental coherence” was linked to psychological health. These authors introduced the idea of applying a shortened version of the original 29-item SOC questionnaire, but have not yet developed or tested the shortened questionnaire. Backed by their important findings, it appears to be promising to consider the use of the SOC questionnaire as standardized by Antonovsky, but cleared of the items regarding “predictability”, i.e., Flensborg-Madsen et al. suggested that the items on “predictability” be excluded from the SOC scale when a correlation to physical health is to be investigated. Further investigations in this area of research will be of high impact, not only for health sciences, but also for medical practice.