Qualitative Approaches to the Study of the Sense of Coherence

Avishai Antonovsky*, Gillie Pragai Olswang, L. Vaandrager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been rapid growth in qualitative studies of the sense of coherence (SOC). This chapter aims to address the following questions: how is the SOC measured qualitatively, when is such measurement relevant or preferable, and what should we strive to achieve as we continue developing qualitative approaches?

Based on our search of the literature, we report on four types of research: studies that intentionally and directly measured the SOC using qualitative methodologies, studies designed within the salutogenic framework that were open to analyzing people’s life stories or artwork and which looked for expressions which reflect the SOC, studies interpreting their findings in hindsight in terms of the SOC, and studies that did not originate with salutogenesis in mind and came to appreciate that something akin to the SOC had been measured.

Qualitative salutogenic research is expanding. Its theoretical and empirical contributions include demonstrating the utility in SOC research of thick descriptions of microanalytic behaviors and methods to document SOC development. An important step for the future is to develop quality criteria for qualitative salutogenic studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Salutogenesis
EditorsM.B. Mittelmark, G.F. Bauer, L. Vaandrager, J.M. Pelikan, S. Sagy, M. Eriksson, B. Lindström, C. Meier Magistretti
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9783030795153
ISBN (Print)9783030795146
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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