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Physical Activity and Sense of Coherence in Older Australians
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8748-8843
2016 (English)In: Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, ISSN 1063-8652, E-ISSN 1543-267X, Vol. 24, no Suppl., p. S111-S112Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Aaron Antonovsky’s focus on the sources of health (‘salutogenesis’) and his related concept of ‘sense of coherence’ (SOC) have been studied and used widely in Scandinavia, North America, England, and some other countries, but not in Australia. Few papers on his ideas and their usefulness for studying older adult health have been published. Guided by Antonovsky’s theories, this study investigated the relationships between ‘sense of coherence’ (SOC), physical activity (PA), and health in 36 Australians 65 years of age and older.

Methods: Participants were Brisbane residents, aged 65 to 93, who were free of severe memory problems and able to walk without the assistance of another person. They completed the SOC-13, an instrument created by Antonovsky, to measure levels of SOC, and participated in semi-structured interviews that were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interview questions focused on how they had handled life difficulties during the most recent five-year period and then in their earlier lives. Participants also completed a survey asking for basic demographic information, diagnosis or treatment for chronic diseases, and their assessment of their overall health. Qualitative data were augmented by quantitative data from accelerometers that each participant wore for one week while keeping a diary of PA.

Results: Participants with higher scores on the SOC-13 spoke more often and more enthusiastically about PA. They also engaged in more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA, averaged more steps per day, and reported fewer chronic disease problems than those with lower SOC scores. Several expectations that had been expressed by Antonovsky seemed to have been borne out by the results of this study.

Conclusion: Antonovsky’s ideas and SOC-measurement tools can be useful for the study of health in Australians aged 65 years and over. Our finding that higher SOC levels seem to be related to engagement in positive health maintenance practices by older people supports conclusions of earlier studies. Since one such practice is PA, further research into the role of SOC may offer novel opportunities for interventions aimed at improving the health of this population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Champaign, USA: Human Kinetics, 2016. Vol. 24, no Suppl., p. S111-S112
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences Geriatrics
Research subject
Sports Science; Geriatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-51586ISI: 000381554400283OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-51586DiVA, id: diva2:951169
Conference
9th World Congress on Active Ageing, Melbourne, Australia, 28 June-1 July, 2016
Available from: 2016-08-07 Created: 2016-08-07 Last updated: 2018-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Quennerstedt, Mikael

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School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
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