Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Sondra Matter

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Examining Resiliency: Sense of Coherence as a Predictor Variable and Evaluating the Dimensionality of the Sense of Coherence Scale

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Recently, there has been a movement in both the fields of medical and mental health from focusing on negative outcomes and pathology to studying positive aspects of health that contribute to physical and psychological well-being, such as the concept of resiliency.   Resiliency is defined as the collection of personal qualities which enable an individual to adapt to diverse situations, overcome obstacles, and thrive in times of adversity (Cui, Teng, Li, and Oei, 2010).  In this study resiliency is measured using the Sense of Coherence (SOC) Scale (Antonovsky, 1987), which is based on Antonovsky’s (1987) theory of “sense of coherence,” or an individual trait that enables one to recognize life stressors and effectively utilize coping  resources to adjust to stressors and maintain health.   Previous research has demonstrated associations between SOC and a variety of psychosocial outcomes, including sense of well-being, health, stress, and anxiety (Delgado, 2007).  However, little research exists that considers SOC and its power as a predictor of life outcomes.  Is resiliency, as measured by Antonovsky’s SOC Scale, a unique factor of an individual: does it significantly predict, or contribute to, personal and psychological outcomes of an individual?  In the present study, this question was examined by operationalizing SOC as a predictor variable and analyzing its unique power in predicting the psychosocial outcomes of purpose in life (PIL) and self-actualization (SA) above and beyond both personality, as measured by the Five Factor Model (FFM) of Personality (McCrae and Costa, 1987), and spirituality measured as a personality variable by Piedmont’s (2008) Spiritual Transcendence Scale Short-Form.  Additionally, given there is limited research that critically studied Antonovsky’s SOC scale as a statistical measure, in particular its factor structure, this study also evaluated the dimensionality of the SOC scale through factor analysis.  For the present study the method of data collection was one of convenience via snowball technique.  Five hundred and sixty-two participants in the study represent varying levels of income, employment, education, marital and family status.  The mean age of participants was 33.24 years (± 8.03) with 390 females and 172 males.  Through hierarchical multiple regression, SOC showed significant incremental validity over both personality and spirituality in contributing to purpose in life, ?R2= .08, p < .001, as well as self-actualization, ?R2= .02, p < .05.  Additionally, factor analysis supported a three-factor model of the SOC Scale.

Keywords: resiliency, sense of coherence, personality, spirituality, incremental validity, hierarchical multiple regression, factor analysis