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Questioning the stability of sense of coherence--the impact of socio-economic status and working conditions in the Canadian population.

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  • 1Population/Workforce Studies Group, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E9, Canada. psmith@iwh.on.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Much debate exists about the stability of the sense of coherence measure. This study examined changes in sense of coherence (SOC), and the variables associated with these changes, over a 4-year period, in a representative sample of the Canadian labour force (n=6,790).

METHODS:

Two methods were used to assess change in SOC: (1) Change outside of that which could be considered as indistinguishable from measurement error, and (2) Change of more than 10%, which was originally proposed by Antonovksy, the scales designer.

RESULTS:

Over the study period, 35.4% of the population reported changes in SOC outside the range we consider possible due to measurement error, with 58% reporting change greater than 10%. Unskilled occupations were associated with declines in SOC, with household income demonstrating a curvilinear relationship with decline in SOC in the female population only. None of the variables used predicted increases in SOC.

CONCLUSIONS:

Given the degree of change in SOC, and the representativeness of the study sample, we suggest that SOC has a large state component. Given this lack of stability, we recommend caution if using the SOC to represent a stable global orientation within a causal context.

PMID:
14504729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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