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Negative life events and stability of sense of coherence: A five-year follow-up study of Finnish women and men


Salla-Maarit Volanen, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, PO Box 41, 00014 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:


A strong sense of coherence (SOC) is found to be associated with good mental health. This study investigated (1) whether negative life events affect level of SOC, (2) whether initial level of SOC modifies the effect of negative life events on SOC, and (3) whether stability of SOC differs between genders. The data were derived from the 15-year Health and Social Support study (N= 17,271). Ordinary linear regression analysis was used. Negative life events decreased the level of SOC among both genders irrespective of the timing of the event. The more recent the life event, the lower the SOC. A strong SOC in 1998 did not protect SOC from declining during follow-up. Specific gender differences were not discovered. SOC was related to negative changes in people's environment. Initially strong SOC was not more stable than initially mediocre or weak SOC. Men and women reacted quite similarly to negative life events.

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