Structural sources of the sense of coherence - Two life stories of holocaust survivors in Israel

S. Sagy, H. Antonovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We describe a preliminary exploration of three types of life experiences hypothesized to be relevant to the development of the Sense of Coherence (SOC), the core concept in Antonovsky's salutogenic model. Salutogenesis, in contrast with pathogenesis, is concerned with factors promoting health, rather than those causing disease. The SOC deals with how individuals respond to stressors. It is defined as a global orientation expressing the extent to which one has a feeling of confidence that things will work out as well as can be expected. Three types of life experiences were hypothesized to shape the development of the SOC: consistency, emotional load balance, and sense of belonging. They were selected for a qualitative content analysis. One hundred retirees, whose SOC scores had been obtained in a previous study, were interviewed using a semistructured life-story interview. This paper deals with the analysis of the narratives of two women in the sample whose life histories were similar in their historical and social contexts. However, their present orientation toward life, as expressed both in their stories and their SOC scores, were different. The relationships between their life experiences and their perceptions of their lives at present are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-205
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1996


  • Holocaust survivors
  • Life experiences
  • Sense of coherence
  • Sociology of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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