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J Psychosom Res. 2006 Aug;61(2):221-7.

Resilience, misfortune, and mortality: evidence that sense of coherence is a marker of social stress adaptive capacity.

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Strangeways Research Laboratory, Worts Causeway, Cambridge, UK.



The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that sense of coherence (SOC) distinguishes adaptive capacity to adverse event experience.


A population-based cohort of 20,921 men and women completed a postal assessment of their lifetime experience of specific adverse events and a measure of their SOC. Reports of 111,857 events allowed construction of measures of event impact and adaptation.


Those with a weak SOC reported significantly slower adaptation to the adverse effects of their event experiences than those with a strong SOC (P<.0001). During mean follow-up of 6.7 years, 1617 deaths were recorded. A one standard deviation increase in mean adaptation score (representing slower adaptation) was associated with a 6% increase in mortality rate (P=.03) after adjusting for age and sex. Measures of event occurrence and impact were less strongly associated with SOC and were not significantly associated with mortality.


These results suggest that SOC is a potential marker of an individual's social stress adaptive capacity, which is predictive of mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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