TEST OF ANTONOVSKY'S POSTULATE: HIGH SENSE OF COHERENCE HELPS PEOPLE AVOID NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS1

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Abstract

This study tested Antonovsky's postulate that a high sense of coherence (SOC) helps people avoid negative life events. It was assumed that negative life events that were uncontrollable would not show this effect, while those events that potentially could be controlled would show a significant relationship with SOC. 1,012 female nurses (M age = 46.9 yr.; SD = 8.9) participated in this longitudinal study and were divided into groups with low, moderate, and high SOC. Sixteen negative life events were categorized into uncontrollable and controllable events, with the controllable events divided into three sub-categories. Five one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) for independent measures followed up with post hoc tests were performed, with the number of experienced events in a given category by each participant (at Time 2) as the dependent variable and the three SOC groups (formed at Time 1) as the independent variable. The results indicated that the high SOC group reported fewer controllable negative life events, while there was no significant relationship between the SOC level and uncontrollable negative life events. The findings support the postulate in Antonovsky's model, with the distinction between controllable and uncontrollable negative life events.

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