, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 69-79
Date: 05 Aug 2010

Development of sense of coherence in adulthood: a person-centered approach. The population-based HeSSup cohort study

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We sought to identify the most typical patterns of change in sense of coherence (SOC) in adulthood.


This prospective population-based Health and Social Support (HeSSup) study was based on four age cohorts including men and women initially aged 20–24 years (n = 4,682), 30–34 years (n = 4,248), 40–44 years (n = 4,598), and 50–54 years (n = 4,997). SOC was assessed at baseline and at the 5-year follow-up point. Factor Mixture Modeling was used to identify the latent classes of persons whose mean changes in SOC were similar over time.


Three development classes were supported by the data. In all age cohorts, the largest class consisted of those people whose SOC was high at baseline and increased thereafter (46–58% of participants depending on the age group). A class of high SOC with a decreasing trend and that of low SOC with an increasing trend were also found. In all age groups, the rank-order stability was high in the first development class (0.84–0.98) but low in other classes (0.35–0.44).


This analysis shows continuous increase in the level of SOC over time to be common in adulthood, irrespective of age. High SOC, rather than higher age, seems to determine a stable development of the SOC.