Salutogenesis and culture: personal and community sense of coherence among adolescents belonging to three different cultural groups

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;23(6):533-41. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2011.637905.


The salutogenic theory considers sense of coherence (SOC) as a cross-cultural concept ( Antonovsky, 1987 ), meaning that in all cultures and at all stages of coping with a stressor, a person with a strong SOC is at an advantage in preventing tension from being transformed into stress. However, in seeking to understand how the SOC works, it is culture which seems to define which resources are appropriate. The aim of our paper is to examine this theoretical assumption of Antonovsky. Data on personal and community SOC as well as on stress reactions were gathered after the last fire in northern Israel (December 2010) among adolescents aged 12-18 belonging to three cultural groups (Jews, Druze, Muslims). We compared the pattern of personal versus community SOC in explaining stress reactions in the three cultures. Results indicate that personal SOC was the strongest predictor of stress reactions in all cultures. Community SOC, however, played a significant role mainly for Druze. Results are discussed relating to Antonovsky's theory and to adolescence as a 'universal' period, as well as considering the uniqueness of each culture separately.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Health Promotion* / methods
  • Health Promotion* / organization & administration
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Israel / ethnology
  • Jews / psychology
  • Male
  • Mental Health / standards*
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sense of Coherence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological* / ethnology
  • Stress, Psychological* / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires