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Soc Sci Med. 2001 Sep;53(5):603-14.

Sense of coherence and school-related stress as predictors of subjective health complaints in early adolescence: interactive, indirect or direct relationships?

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Research Centre for Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway.


The role of sense of coherence (SOC) on the relationship between adolescent school-related stress and subjective health complaints was tested with structural equation modelling. As part of the crossnational WHO-survey 'Health behaviour in school-aged children 1997/98' Norwegian representative samples of 1592 grade 6, 1534 grade 8, and 1605 grade 10 students completed measures on SOC, school-related stress and subjective health complaints. A test of nested structural models revealed that both stress-preventive (delta chi2 814. 86, p<0.001), stress-moderating (delta chi2 11.74, p<0.02) and main health-enhancing (delta chi2 1289.1, p < 0.001) effects of SOC were consistent with the data. A model including all these relationships fitted the data well (CFI = 0.91, RMSEA = 0.04). Age-group comparisons revealed that the association between SOC and stress grew weaker with age (p<0.05), whereas the direct association between SOC and health complaints grew stronger (p<0.001). The main effect of SOC accounted for between 39% (11 year olds) and 54% (15 year olds) of the variance in subjective health complaints. Findings indicate that SOC may potentially be a salutogenic factor in adolescents' adaptation to school-related stress, and that relationships between SOC and healthy adaptation, may be evident in younger age-groups than previously anticipated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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