Older people's sense of coherence: relationships with education, former occupation and living arrangements

Silvia Ciairano*, Emanuela Rabaglietti, Roberta De Martini, Matteo Giletta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Few Studies have explored the combination of individual and contextual conditions that Influence psychological health among older people. This Study aimed to analyse the sense of coherence (SOC) in a sample of Italian senior citizens in relation to gender, educational level, living arrangements and former employment, when controlling for age. The short version of the SOC scale (Antonovsky 1987), which has items for the 'comprehensibility', 'manageability' and 'meaningfulness' components, was administered to a sample of 198 senior citizens of both genders and with an average age of 68.5 years. The findings showed that: (a) senior citizens with a higher level of education and who had retired from jobs with a high level of responsibility perceived reality as more controllable, manageable and meaningful; (b) with greater age, the perception that life's challenges are worth facing decreased; and (c) there was an interaction between living arrangements and education level, viz. those with higher education, and those with lower education living with a Spouse or partner, perceived reality as more meaningful and their life challenges as worth facing. It is important to investigate further the activities that help maintain a high sense of coherence throughout the life span, and to design social policies that support senior citizens who live alone, because they appear psychologically weaker than others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1091
Number of pages17
JournalAgeing and Society: The Journal of the Centre for Policy on Ageing and the British Society of Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • sense of coherence
  • older people
  • living arrangements
  • moderation
  • LIFE
  • AGE


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