Antonovsky – Sense Of Coherence
Aaron Antonovsky, PhD Yale University, Professor in Medical Sociology, (December 19, 1923 – July 7, 1994) was an Israeli American sociologist and academician whose work concerned the relationship between stress, health and well-being.
Antonovsky put forward the concept of Sense Of Coherence (SOC) in 1979 to explain why some people become ill under stress and others stay healthy.
His theory was an entirely new approach from being occupied of Pathogenesis, witch addresses the cause/origin of diseases and how to treat diseases, Antonovsky developed the term Salutogenesis, the cause/origin of health, witch factors create health.
SALUS = Health
GENISIS = Cause/ Origin
This model was described in his 1979 book, “Health, Stress and Coping”, followed by his 1987 work, “Unraveling the Mystery of Health”. The books were acclaimed among health scholars as an important contribution to understanding the relationship between health and illness.
Antonovsky said we couldn’t find people’s resilience or mastering or said with an easy language: “WHAT MAKES US COPE WITH LIFE” by looking how people get sick. We have to look at it from the perspective HOW PEOPLE CREATE HEALTH –this is a salutogenic understanding.
In the salutongenetic theory does Antonovsky establish; Humans continually battle with the ENTROPIC effects of hardship/stressors. Actually the whole manifestation is constant object to ENTROPI. The salutogenic approach addresses the RESOURSES that keep humans from not falling apart, become ill and die.
Salutogenesis is a stress resource orientated concept; witch focuses on resources, maintains and improves the movement towards health. It gives the answer why people despite hardships and stressful situations stay well. It is the opposite of the pathogenic concept where the focus is on the obstacles and deficits.
Antonovsky studied people that have been exposed to extremely hard and stressful situations, Holocaust survivals. He saw that the ones that keep their health and life quality had three common strengths:
Comprehensibility, Manageability, and Meaningfulness.
From these three components does the concept of Sense Of Coherence (SOC) derive.
He observed that while many Holocaust survivals were suffering from severe aftereffects –both physical and emotional illnesses, others did not show any such symptoms at al. He wanted to find out witch factors determinate whether a person would cope with same traumatic experience more easily or more difficulty than another person. Therefor he was interested in the origin/cause of health –even under difficult and stressful situations.
This model of understanding:
Health ß——à Disease/ Illness
Goes beyond our physical, energetic and emotional bodies.
Antonovskys model is showing us what is behind physical, energetic and emotional -health and illness.
Antonovskys model is dealing with the mental director behind physical, energetic and emotional -health and illness.
This model is dealing with our causal body and our deep mind –Vijana Maya Kosha – the deep understanding, meaning, wisdom, ideologies in humans mind.
The states of health or illness/disease are the effects of our deep mind, the intensions behind our thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions.
In 1970 did Antonovsky a study of woman:
“Adapting to climacterium of woman in different ethnic groups in Israel.”
Across the group most woman (more than half of the group) displayed good emotional heath. Among those woman 29% of them, had been in concentration camps, only 2/3 (two thirds) where sill troubled –THIS MAKE SENCE! That they should be troubled with those experiences.
What did NOT make sense was that 30% (one –third) where psychologically healthy.
They had gone through most unimaginable horror of the camp –being displaced. They been witness 3 wars –and still being in reasonable health!!!
HOW / WHAT makes people create health?
As I wrote earlier in this text did Antonovsky find 3 main factors that creates resilience/ robustness:
1. Comprehensibility: a belief that things happen in an orderly and predictable fashion and a sense that you can understand events in your life and reasonably predict what will happen in the future.
2. Manageability: a belief that you have the skills or ability, the support, the help, or the resources necessary to take care of things, and that things are manageable and within your control.
3. Meaningfulness: a belief that things in life are interesting and a source of satisfaction, that things are really worth it and that there is good reason, meaning or purpose to care about what happens.
According to Antonovsky, the third element is the most important. If a person believes there is no reason to persist and survive and confront challenges, if they have no sense of meaning, then they will have no motivation to comprehend and manage events. His essential argument is that “salutogenesis” depends on experiencing a strong “sense of coherence.” His research demonstrated that the sense of coherence predicts positive health outcomes.
In simple terms:
“If we lack sense of meaning –there will be no motivation to understand and manage events and challenges.”
“You cannot achieve physical or psychological health if you do not have an enduring belief that life is worth living.”