Workplace health resources based on sense of coherence theory

Petra Nilsson, Ingemar H. Andersson, Göran Ejlertsson, Margareta Troein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – In workplace health promotion, enhancing resources are less explored than risk factors. The aim of this paper is to explore the usability of the sense of coherence (SOC) theory to identify considerable and positively perceived work-related factors and processes.

Design/methodology/approach – The study had a salutogenic approach to workplace health promotion. A total of 13 focus group interviews were conducted with hospital employees in Sweden. A deductive analysis was made with the SOC theory as a framework.

Findings – Work-related specific enhancing resources (SER) were identified and analysed into the three components of SOC: comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. SER's implication in daily performance is explained by employee expressions. Through increased understanding and awareness, SER could contribute to savoring positive experiences, and enhance SOC among employees. Antonovsky's concept Generalized Resistance Resources is suggested to be enlarged based on the expressed significance of concrete daily positive work occurrences to increase one's SOC.

Research limitations/implications – Not all hospital professions were represented in the study. Further studies are required to involve physicians, paramedics, managers, as well as other settings, to compare and complement with additional experiences of workplace resources.

Practical implications – The study presents an opportunity to explore, understand, and foster workplace resources through assistance from the SOC theory. The SER presented in this study may serve as initial examples in workplace discussions about work-related resources contributing to a sense of coherence.

Originality/value – This study contributes to public health research and workplace health promotion with a salutogenic focus on how to explore enhancing work-related resources with the assistance of the practical SOC theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-167
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology (30302)


  • Health services
  • Hospital employees
  • Hospitals
  • Resources
  • Sense of coherence
  • Specific enhancing resources
  • Sweden
  • Workplace


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