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Development of sense of coherence during two group interventions


Kari Kähönen, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Psychology and Reflekta Ltd., Rääkkätie 47, Iittala 14500, Finland. E-mail:


Kähönen, K., Näätänen, P., Tolvanen, A. & Salmela-Aro, K. (2012). Development of sense of coherence during two group interventions. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 523–527.

Burnout is a serious occupational hazard. This study investigated the possibility to develop an effective salutogenic group intervention among employees suffering from severe burnout symptoms. Participants consisted of employees aged 31 to 59 years working in different public service occupations, such as police officers, tax officers, (and other public service officers), and assigned to three different groups: analytic (N = 25), psychodramatic (N = 24) and controls (N = 28). The intervention comprised 16 separate days over a nine-month period. Changes in sense of coherence (SOC) were measured four times with the 13-item Orientation to Life Questionnaire during the intervention and at six-month follow-up, and analyzed by general linear model (GLM) and using Cohen’s d to estimate effect sizes. Change in SOC between the three groups was statistically significant (F(4,148) = 2.65, p = 0.036). The psychodrama group showed a higher increase in SOC than the analytic group during the intervention, while the improvement in the analytic group was significant during the six-month follow-up. Total effect size from baseline to follow-up was in the analytic group 0.71, in the psychodrama group 0.47, and in the control group from baseline to end of intervention 0.09. The results show that it is possible to improve SOC by group intervention in the occupational healthcare context. The dialogue-based analytic method and action-based psychodramatic method differ in their specific effects.