Mastery, sense of coherence, and mortality: evidence of independent associations from the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Cohort Study

Health Psychol. 2006 Jan;25(1):102-10. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.25.1.102.


This study investigated the association between 2 distinct personal coping resources (mastery and sense of coherence) and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. During follow-up (up to 6 years), 994 deaths were recorded among 20,323 participants, ages 41 to 80 years, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Study in the United Kingdom. A strong sense of mastery was associated with lower rates of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, after adjusting for age, sex, and prevalent chronic physical disease. The association with all-cause mortality was observed for both men and women and remained following further adjustment for cigarette smoking, social class, hostility, neuroticism, and extroversion. Analysis of the joint association between mastery and sense of coherence revealed both personal coping dispositions to be independently associated with lower rates of all-cause mortality. In addition, these data suggested that the association for mastery was specific to cardiovascular mortality, whereas the association for sense of coherence was specific to cancer mortality. These results may aid future study of coping resources as determinants of persistent well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cohort Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies