The significance of sense of coherence for the perceptions of task characteristics and stress during interruptions amongst a sample of public health nurses in Hong Kong: implications for nursing management

Public Health Nurs. 1998 Aug;15(4):273-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.1998.tb00350.x.


The study aimed to investigate the significance of sense of coherence (SOC) for the perceptions of task characteristics and for stress perceptions during interruptions of public health nurses (PHNs) with children in Hong Kong. The research design employed the experience sampling method. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 20 subjects. During stage one of the study a watch was worn that gave a signal at six random times each day for seven days to complete an experience sampling diary. PHNs on average responded to 34 signals (80%) to complete the diaries which collected data on work and family juggling, task characteristics, and their effects on mood states. At stage two respondents completed the SOC scale which measured confidence in life as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. Two major findings provide the focus for this paper. First, results indicate that there was positive correlation between SOC and perceived task characteristics. Second, results reveal that when interruptions occurred, PHNs with high SOC had higher positive affect and lower negative affect than PHNs with low SOC. These results suggest that SOC as a salutogenic model helps PHNs to cope with the family and work juggling as well as the occupational stress. Implications for nursing management on strengthening SOC of PHNs are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Morale*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Public Health Nursing*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workforce