, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 389-393

The sense of coherence, occupation and all-cause mortality in the Helsinki Heart Study

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Background: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that people with a strong sense of coherence (SOC) have decreased all-cause mortality. Methods: The effect of occupation and the SOC on all-cause mortality was studied among 4405 Finnish middle-aged employed men in a prospective 8-year follow-up study. Results: Using Cox proportional hazards models the crude relative risk for all-cause mortality for the low SOC tertile when compared to the high SOC tertile was 1.23 (95% CI: 0.90–1.68). Adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol and occupation increased the risk slightly to 1.35. Occupation was an effect modifier, since among white-collar workers the corresponding relative risk of the low SOC tertile was 2.27 (95% CI: 1.12–4.59, p = 0.02) and among blue-collar workers the relative risk for all-cause mortality was stable (1.33–1.52) in each SOC tertile. The classic risk factors, smoking and alcohol, showed higher relative risks than the SOC. Conclusions: The effect of the health-promoting qualities of the SOC upon all-cause mortality was significant among white-collar workers, but not among blue-collar workers.