Measuring sense of coherence with only three items: a useful tool for population surveys

Br J Health Psychol. 2003 Nov;8(Pt 4):409-21. doi: 10.1348/135910703770238275.


Objectives: Sense of Coherence is the core construct of Antonovsky's salutogenetic model. To measure Sense of Coherence, a 29-item-questionnaire (SOC-29), a shortened 13-item version, and a simplified measure of only three items (SOC-3) are available. In our study, the last was tested in terms of the psychometric properties and compared with an alternative short form derived from the SOC-29.

Methods: Data with respect to the original SOC-29-scale, the SOC-3, and additional other health measures were collected in a representative general population survey, the German study 'Transitions in Alcohol Consumption and Smoking' (TACOS). Analyses of the factor structures, reliability and validity correlations are reported.

Results: The reliability and validity results of the SOC-3 were not encouraging. Subsequent item analyses revealed that three items taken out of the SOC-29 outperformed the SOC-3 in measuring Sense of Coherence in a simplified way. This newly developed instrument is presented as the Brief Assessment of Sense of Coherence (BASOC).

Conclusion: The BASOC is a superior short form compared with the SOC-3 and is recommended for large surveys with limited space for questions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*