Quality of Life Research

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 69–79 | Cite as

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

  • Taru FeldtEmail author
  • Esko Leskinen
  • Markku Koskenvuo
  • Sakari Suominen
  • Jussi Vahtera
  • Mika Kivimäki



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.


Sense of coherence Life orientation Health Rank-order stability Personality 



Markku Koskenvuo (the director of the HeSSup study) was supported by the Academy of Finland (project 201363). Mika Kivimäki and Jussi Vahtera are supported by the Academy of Finland (grants #117604, #124271, #124322, #129262 and #132944). The HeSSup study group consists of the following researchers (in alphabetical order): Elovainio Marko, Franck Jaana, Helenius Hans, Immonen-Räihä Pirjo, Jalava-Broman Jaana, Jokinen Kirsi, Kivimäki Mika, Korkeila Jyrki, Korkeila Katariina, Koskenvuo Markku, Lillberg Kirsi, Mattila Kari, Ojanlatva Ansa, Paljärvi Tapio, Rautava Päivi, Sillanmäki Lauri, Sumanen Markku, Suominen Sakari, Vahtera Jussi, Vainionmäki Paula, Virtanen Pekka and Volanen Salla-Maarit.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taru Feldt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Esko Leskinen
    • 2
  • Markku Koskenvuo
    • 3
  • Sakari Suominen
    • 4
  • Jussi Vahtera
    • 5
  • Mika Kivimäki
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Department of Maths and StatisticsUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Turku, Folkhälsan Research CenterTurkuFinland
  5. 5.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Turku, Turku University Hospital and Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthTurkuFinland
  6. 6.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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