Salutogenesis in the time of COVID-19: What coping resources enable people to face the crisis and stay well? International and longitudinal study

Adi Mana*, Rute Grossi-Milani, Fabiane Dolphine Fuentes Penachiotti, Lisa J. Hardy, Dolors Juvinyà Canal, Sharon Benheim, Roald Pijpker, Kristel Polhuis, Moran Neuman, Melody Hakimian, Shifra Sagy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademic


Scientific Background: Understanding, responding to, and preventing disasters requires a multidisciplinary approach. During COVID-19 there have been contributions by bench scientists studying the pathogenic aspects of the illness as well as medical and social scientists understanding the multi-layered impacts of the global pandemic. Our study is based on the salutogenic approach which asks about the individual and collective perceptions of coping resources available and the relationship between these resources and levels of anxiety and mental health. We also studied the role of the socio-national context in which the crisis occurred and whether it may also contribute to the understanding of the reactions of individuals in the unusual event of the COVID-19 crisis. Objectives: The study examined the personal (sense of coherence), social resources (social support), and national resources (trust in public institutions and leaders, and sense of national coherence), that enabled high levels of mental health and low levels of anxiety in time of the pandemic crisis. Methodology: Our international study was carried out in nine countries: Israel, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, the U.S.A, during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. We conducted a longitudinal study in Israel during six phases during the first year of the crisis. Findings: We found that Sense of coherence (SOC) was a main and stable coping resource among the participants from all countries included in the study. However, differences were found in the levels of perceptions of national coping resources among different social groups. Conclusions: A strong SOC is crucial for health and survival during times of global and local crises. Policy Implications/recommendations: During regular times, and especially in times of crisis, leaders, and policymakers should prioritize strengthening the sense of coherence of the population. Therefore, the messages to the public should be created and designed to enhance comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness of the pandemic and trust in government and public health initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4322
JournalAcademia Letters
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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