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View of Life and Health

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image of Archive for the Psychology of Religion

The quest for causes behind health and sickness proposes deeper causes like personality and general view of life. Two such concepts have been shown to associate with health indicators in a systematic way, sense of coherence and view of life. Sense of coherence (SOC) is defined as the sum of three factors, comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. View of life (VOL) consists of three components, general theories of man and the world, a central value system, and a basic attitude. Two empirical studies are summarized where the concepts are related to bereavement and health, respectively. It is concluded that there are many similarities between the two concepts. They both emphasize integration and coherence and connote basic structures in belief systems. They can be related to personality structure and the coping process. The concepts differ in scope and depth. SOC can be considered as part of the connotation of VOL. SOC is quantitatively measurable while VOL presumes qualitative methods of assessment. In studies of health, where factors pertaining to world view or sense of coherence are not in focus, but studied rather as possible confounders, methodological simplicity points to use of the SOC concept. In studies of health where the deeper causal structures are in focus, VOL should also be used, since it permits greater depth of analysis. Ideally, both concepts should be applied for a full understanding between man's inner processes and health.


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