• generalized resistance resources;
  • integrative literature review;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • older people;
  • salutogenesis;
  • sense of coherence;
  • systematic review



To synthesize the evidence in published studies that used a salutogenic framework to explore the relationship between generalized resistance resources, a sense of coherence, health and the quality of life in people aged 65 years and over.


Since 1979, increasing interest has been shown in salutogenesis and the relationship of generalized resistance resources and a sense of coherence with health and quality of life. With populations ageing, it is important to explore how older people can advance in years successfully and continue to enjoy good health and an acceptable quality of life.


Integrative review.

Data Sources

CINAHL Plus with full text, JSTOR, PsycInfo, PubMed, SCOPUS, Sociological Abstracts and Web of Science were searched for studies published from 1979–2011.

Review Methods

The integrative review adopted a five-stage approach – problem identification, literature search, data evaluation, data analysis and presentation.


Eight studies – one qualitative and seven cross-sectional quantitative studies – from Western countries were included in the review. In general, a strong sense of coherence among older people was correlated with better physical, social and mental health. The use of generalized resistance resources, such as appraisal, coping strategies and social support, was correlated with their sense of coherence, perceived holistic health and quality of life.


In communities, older people who have access to generalized resistance resources are more likely to have a strong sense of coherence, relatively good health and an acceptable quality of life. Further intervention studies should address how older people can develop and employ generalized resistance resources.