Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate sense of coherence (SOC) in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) compared to the general population.
Method: A questionnaire was sent to a representative sample of adults with CP, including the 3-item version of SOC and items on their life situation and follow-up programmes. The study included persons over 18 years of age with CP and without intellectual disability. The results were compared with the results from a reference group.
Results: The 406 respondents with CP (48.5% females, 51.5% males) were 18-72 years of age. The distribution of the different types of CP coincided with international epidemiological studies. Mean SOC was significantly lower in the adults with CP than in the reference group. The largest difference was found in the domain of comprehensibility. The factors most important in relation to SOC were level of education, marital status, life satisfaction and fatigue.
Conclusions: Early experiences of predictability, balance between challenges and personal resources and finding these challenges worthy of investment, are prerequisites for developing sense of coherence. The present study suggests that these factors are less present in early socialization of persons with CP compared to the general population, and underlines the need for follow-up programmes that emphasize existential aspects and coping strategies.