Objective: We proposed and tested a model in which low sense of coherence (SOC) was hypothesized to underlie the association between hostility and health problems.
Methods: Structural equation modeling was based on cross-lagged 7-year follow-up data, relating to five measurement points in 433 female municipal employees.
Results: The mediated model fitted well with the data. After adjustment for baseline characteristics, hostility was associated with increased risk of health problems, as indicated by records of sickness absences and poor self-rated health. Incorporating SOC into the model attenuated this association by 33-50%, depending on the indicator of health. The mediated effect of SOC was stronger than that of an alternative mediator, depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: Low SOC may be a psychological background factor partially underlying the adverse effect of hostility on ill health.