Objectives: The course of sense of coherence (SOC) in adolescents over an 18-month-period and the correlation between individual variability in the SOC scale scores and physical and psychological symptoms were examined.
Methods: A sample of 341 students from two Swiss senior high schools were investigated by means of questionnaires three times over a period of 18 months. The questionnaire comprised the SOC scale (SOC-13) and measures of physical and psychological impairment.
Results: Male adolescents had a significantly higher SOC mean score than females. Significant negative correlations between the SOC and the symptom scales were found in both genders. Higher symptom scores correlated with a greater variability of the SOC scores. Independent of their sex, individuals with a high SOC score at t1 showed less variability in the SOC values over time than individuals with low SOC scores. In adolescents who revealed low symptom scores the SOC scale scores almost reached levels seen in adults and remained relatively stable over time.
Conclusions: The results suggest a certain degree of stability of SOC in middle to late adolescence.