Salutogenesis is a term coined by Aaron Antonovsky, a professor of medical sociology. The term describes an approach focusing on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than on factors that cause disease. More specifically, the “salutogenic model” is concerned with the relationship between health, stress, and coping.Wikipedia
Antonovsky’s theories reject the “traditional medical-model dichotomy separating health and illness”. He described the relationship as a continuous variable, what he called the “health-ease versus dis-easecontinuum”.
Salutogenesis, the origin of health, is a stress resource orientated concept, wich focuses
on resources, maintains and improves the movement towards health. It gives the answer why people despite stressful situations and hardships stay well. It is the opposite of the pathogenic concept where the focus is on the obstacles and deficits.
The Salutogenic model for health, i.e. the study of health and determinants of health in the human context, is the main research objective of the Health Promotion Research Programme. Core areas of research are mental health promotion, life span research, health literacy and healthy learning.
After five years research we are able to state, with confidence, that people and systemsthat develop the ability to implement the salutogenic way of living will not only live longer but perceive they are in good health, enjoy a better quality of life and mental wellbeing.
In addition, they can stand stress better than the average and have more constructive health behaviours. Even if they become ill or get a chronic disease they will do better than
Two core concepts are essential in the salutogenic theory (Antonovsky 1979, 1987),
the Sense of Coherence (SOC) and the Generalized Resistance Resources (GRRs).
The Sense of Coherence
The ability to comprehend the whole of a stressful situation and the capacity to use the resources available was called sense of coherence (SOC). SOC reflects a person’s view of life and capacity to respond to stressful situations. It is a global orientation to view the life as structured, manageable, and meaningful or coherent. It is a personal way of thinking, being, and acting, with an inner trust, which leads people to identify, benefit, use, and re-use the resources at their disposal. Three elements – comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness, forms the SOC.
The Generalized Resistance Resources
The other key factors are the resources available to make such a movement towards health possible. The GRRs can be found within people as resources bound to their person and capacity but also to their immediate and distant environment as of both material and non-material qualities from the person to the whole society. The key factor is not what is available but to be able to use and re-use them for the intended purpose. The GRRs provide a person with sets of meaningful and coherent life experiences thanks to the resources at the person’s disposal.