Students’ Sense of coherence - A promising concept?  

Maier M., Brunner E.
First author's affiliation: University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria

The Sense of coherence (SoC) is one of the central concepts of Antonovsky’s salutogenesis (Antonovsky, 1997). It can be seen as a global orientation (with the aspects of meaningfulness, comprehensibility and manageability) that determines how confident a person is in the predictability of events, how one evaluates resources to deal with these events and the gain of meeting challenges. To measure the Sense of coherence of academic and administrative staff at universities, Gräser (2003) constructed the U-SoC-scale which is adapted for students in the present study. Our Students’ Sense of coherence scale (S-SoC scale) was handed out, along with sociodemographic items and the short version of the WHO Quality of life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF; Angermeyer, Kilian & Matschinger, 2000), to 191 students at the University of Klagenfurt (82% female). The first aim was to assess the S-SoC’s postulated structural model’s goodness-of-fit. It turned out to be sufficient and indicated some possibilities for the refinement of the instrument. Having confirmed this, we could continue with scores derived from the S-SoC scale and relate the surveyed constructs to each other. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) with all five WHOQOL-BREF subdomains as outcomes and gender and the S-SoC’s subscales Manageability and Meaningfulness as independent variables showed significant relations between these constructs. Male respondents feel better globally and physically whereas women claim to have better social relationships. Results from the present study indicate that the students’ Sense of coherence has a considerable impact on people’s subjectively perceived well-being. These findings can be utilized in the manifold programs for health-promotion at universities to make these places a comprehensible, meaningful and manageable environment for students.