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J Psychosom Res. 1999 Apr;46(4):343-8.

The concept of "sense of coherence" and the development of posttraumatic stress disorder in traffic accident victims.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Freiburg, Germany.


According to the "sense of coherence" concept, those subjects who can give meaning to a traumatic event can comprehend what has happened and have a sense of manageability of the sequelae, are able to cope better with the traumatic event itself. In the present study, this concept was applied to traffic accident victims. Severely injured traffic accident victims were assessed a few days after the accident and at 6-month follow-up. At follow-up, patients filled in the 29-item version of the Sense of Coherence (SOC) self-rating scale. The results show that the SOC total score correlated negatively with the development of: (i) posttraumatic psychopathology; (ii) psychological disorders (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder after the accident); and (iii) anxious cognitions. The personality trait of neuroticism correlated negatively and extraversion and frustration tolerance correlated positively with SOC total score. Previous hypotheses are supported by our findings.

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