The structure of Antonovsky's sense of coherence in patients with schizophrenia and its relationship to psychopathology


Anita Bengtsson-Tops, Department of Health Sciences and Social Work, Växjö University, SE-351 95 Växjö, Sweden.


The main aim of the study was to investigate whether the three hypothesized subscales of Antonovsky's sense of coherence (SOC) scale: comprehensibility, meaningfulness and manageability, can be found when measuring SOC in a sample of patients with schizophrenia living in the community. A further aim was to study the relationship between SOC and psychopathology. The concept of SOC has been proposed to explain successful coping with life stressors. A total of 120 patients completed the SOC scale and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) was used to assess the psychopathology of the patients. The SOC scale was analysed by means of a factor analysis with a varimax rotation and the Spearman rank correlation test was used to test for associations between subscales, factors and psychiatric symptoms. A four-factor model presented the best solution and explained 48% of the total variation in SOC. The first factor, which included 12-items of the SOC scale, turned out to be the most salient factor explaining 29% of the total variation. All factors displayed some overlapping between items. Affective symptoms were negatively related to all the three subscales and the four factors of SOC, while positive symptoms were similarly related to two of the subscales and two of the factors while negative symptoms were not associated with any of the factors or subscales. The findings in this study corroborate those in studies with other patient groups and indicate that the theoretical framework of SOC should not be adopted uncritically. Furthermore, the use of the three subscales in the SOC scale in studies of patients with a severe mental illness is questioned and a further investigation of the relationship between SOC and psychopathology is proposed.