Aaron Antonovsky's Sense of Coherence (SOC) questionnaire with its 3 subscales is designed to measure strengths within individuals that allow them to survive in the face of extreme stresses, including chronic illness. We administered the SOC to 1333 patients with rheumatic disorders. Although the instrument had high alpha reliability, factor analysis did not support the concept of distinct subscales. The SOC was strongly related to the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales anxiety and depression scores (r = -0.63 to -0.69), less strongly related to clinical variables (r = -0.20 to -0.33), and was minimally related to demographic variables. When psychological variables were controlled for, almost no association between the SOC and clinical variables remained (r = 0.06). Whether the SOC will be more useful than standard psychological instruments awaits the result of ongoing studies.