The development of the sense of coherence: A retrospective study of early life experiences in the family

S. Sagy, H. Antonovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


This is an exploratory study of the relationship between three sociodemographic variables, four types of life experiences, and the development of the Sense of Coherence (SOC). The study was carried out using semi-structured life-history interviews of eighty-nine retirees whose SOC scores had been obtained in a previous study. The central research question was what kind of experiences within the family context during childhood are related to the development of the SOC. The interviews were scored on ten pre-coded variables derived from four types of life experiences which were hypothesized to shape the SOC: consistency, load balance, participation in shaping outcome, and emotional closeness. In addition, three sociodemographic variables, which were hypothesized to influence the family context by setting limits and offering opportunity for the kinds of interactions which might occur within the family, were measured: family education level, socioeconomic status, and gender. Results of the statistical analysis indicate that the most relevant childhood experience related to the adult SOC was participation in shaping outcomes. Both family education level and gender were related to SOC, directly and indirectly. Findings are discussed in terms of the salutogenic model and the historical and social context in which the interviewees grew up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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