Organizational change and employees' mental health: the protective role of sense of coherence

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Feb;53(2):118-23. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318206f0cb.


Objective: To examine the impact of sense of coherence (SOC) on psychiatric events in the context of organizational merger.

Methods: Data were derived from a prospective "Still Working" study using questionnaire and health register data. The study population (n = 4279) consisted of employees with no psychiatric events prior to the 5-year mental health follow-up.

Results: Employees with a weaker premerger SOC were at a higher risk of perceiving the organizational change negatively (odds ratio = 1.83, 95% CI: 1.57 to 2.14) and had an elevated risk of postmerger psychiatric events (hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.94). A stronger SOC decreased the adverse effect of negative appraisal of change on psychiatric events.

Conclusions: A strong premerger SOC seems to be a protective factor for mental health when the employee experiences negative changes during an organizational merger.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires