Adolescence is marked by significant life stress. Recently, school refusal and dropouts as well as suicide among Japanese adolescents have increased. Sense of coherence (SOC) is recognized as a competency that helps people deal with stress. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors influencing SOC in male and female high school students. We conducted a survey with 203 pairs of high school students and their mothers, in Tokyo, to explore their SOC, family relationships, school belonging, and autistic traits. Analysis of the data revealed a weak relationship between female students' SOC and that of their mothers, and no relationship between male students' SOC and their mothers' SOC. Feelings of acceptance and recognition from teachers improved students' SOC, irrespective of gender. Low SOC in mothers had a negative impact on female students' SOC, and children's lack of imagination (an autism spectrum tendency) had a negative impact on male students' SOC. This study revealed the importance of support at home and school according to the needs of both genders.
Keywords: adolescent; autism; familial relationship; school life; sense of coherence.