The mechanisms behind the formation of a strong Sense of Coherence (SOC): The role of migration and integration

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Considering how much we know about the impact of the Sense of Coherence (SOC) on different health-related outcomes, we know surprisingly little
about how a strong SOC actually develops. In this study we examine the mechanisms behind the formation of a strong SOC and study the role of
migration, integration and general resistance resources (GRRs) in this process. We held 46 life-story interviews with women of Turkish, Moroccan and
Surinamese descent. We divided the respondents in a relatively strong and weak SOC group in order to discern patterns of life experiences associated with
SOC development. We find that, as Antonovsky predicted, experiencing consistency and load balance are associated with a strong SOC. In opposition to
Antonovsky’s claims, decision making power is not a necessary condition to develop meaningfulness. Moreover, the women’s life narratives show that
migration and integration are related to the mechanisms shaping SOC, yet, the impact is subjective and depends on the availability and use of GRRs. Our
findings provide improvements to Antonovsky’s salutogenic theory and provide suggestions for interventions aimed at strengthening SOC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date6 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Sense of Coherence, migration, integration, general resistance resources


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