A salutogenic perspective on occupational health

Tony Reid*, Ethel Quayle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antonovsky (1979, 1987) developed the concept of Salutogenesis and Sense of Coherence (SOC) from his observations of distressed populations. SOC is the core construct of the Salutogenic model that is health orientated rather than pathogenically derived. Antonovsky (1979) hypothesised that SOC provided a global orientation related to one's location on a health-illness continuum. A number of studies have validated Antonovsky's original concept, and clearly link high SOC to improved health outcomes. In addition, SOC is holistic in orientation, and contrary to the traditional pathogenic fixation evidenced in many healthcare approaches. Holism, or holistic health perspectives, are seen as an evolution of medicine towards individuality and a reduction of medicalisation. However there is some concern that what is espoused as holistic healthcare is often only further evidence of medicalisation. Salutogenesis is concerned with promoting the ideal of a health illness continuum, upon which people continuously move back and forth between health and illness. Antonovsky's work is mainly concerned with why people remain healthy, as clearly there is already enough evidence as to why people become ill. This approach has particular usefulness in an occupational health context, where it may be utilised to identify risk and enhance stress management interventions. © 2008 by The Psychological Society of Ireland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalIrish Journal of Psychology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

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