This study examined the distinctiveness and causal relationships of Antonovsky's (1979) Sense of Coherence Scale and the Mental Health Index of Veit and Ware (1983) in a sample of 306 divorced Muslim Arab men and women in Israel. The findings, based on confirmatory factor analysis and latent-variable structural modelling, suggest that in the present sample sense of coherence (SOC) and mental health are two independent but correlated constructs. They also suggest that, consistent with Antonovsky's theory, SOC may be better viewed as a mediator between stress and mental health than as a concurrent outcome of stress, although the latter possibility is not ruled out. Finally, the findings indicate that the SOC of the sample was relatively low in comparison with other groups. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.