Sence of Coherance

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.”