The Role of Sense of Coherence and Physical Activity in Positive and Negative Affect of Turkish Adolescents

Article excerpt

The increased interest in positive psychology has shifted the focus of research from factors that limit health to those that promote health (Ironson & Powell, 2005). Within positive psychology, affectivity has been considered one of the components of well-being which has been proposed to be measured not only by negative affect but by positive affect (Watson, Clark, & Telegen, 1988). It was considered that these two affect states are not opposite to each other but are distinctive dimensions with high positive affect referring to a state of high energy, full concentration, and pleasurable engagement whereas the low negative affect is a state of calmness and serenity. In the literature, individuals' general disposition of experiencing positive or negative mood states has been found to be consistently associated with a physical and psychological health-related quality of life (Brennan, Singh, Spencer, & Roberts-Thomson, 2006). Examination of the related literature seems to suggest that certain personality dispositions and health-promoting behaviors such as exercise make significant contributions to enhancement of quality of life. In the present study, sense of coherence as a personality variable and total- physical activity as a health-promoting behavior were examined together in terms of their role in positive and negative affect among male and female late adolescents.

The term salutogenesis (origins of health) was first used by Aoron Antonovsky in place of the term pathogenesis (origins of disease) (Almedom, 2005). Arising from a salutogenic approach which emphasizes the factors that support health and well-being, Antonovsky (1979, as cited in Lindstrom & Eriksson, 2005), proposed the concept of sense of coherence to explain why some people stay healthy and others become ill under stress. He argued that the sense of coherence, which is defined as the way individuals view their life and their essence of existence, is the reason for their ability to stay healthy. Antonovsky identified three components of the concept of sense of coherence: comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. Comprehensibility refers to the perception of the world as being understandable, meaningful, orderly and consistent rather than chaotic, random, and unpredictable. Manageabillity is the recognition that the resources required to meet the demands are available. Meaningfulness is the emotional experience of life as making sense and thus coping being desirable (Lindstrom & Eriksson, 2005). A strong sense of coherence (SOC), which is a measurement of the whole concept rather than measuring the three sub-concepts separately seems to help people make use of their resources, promote effective coping, and resolve tension in a salutary manner (Antonovsky, 1979, as cited in Sullivan, 1993). It was also reported that SOC is stabilized by the end of early adulthood and afterwards, it does not fluctuate significantly (Antonovsky & Sagy, 1986).

For the last decades, many studies have been conducted to examine the possible effects of sense of coherence on several physical- and mental health-related concepts. In review studies, researchers reported that sense of coherence is strongly and negatively associated with fatigue, loneliness, anxiety, anger, burnout, demoralization, hostility, hopelessness, depression, perceived stressors, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Kuuppelomaki & Utriainen, 2003; Eriksson, Lindstrom, & Lija, 2007). More specifically, high SOC was found to be related to adaptive coping strategies and resilience (Zayne, 1997) and effective for coping with severe illnesses, such as gynecological cancer (Boscaglia & Clarke, 2007) and posttraumatic stress (Frommberger et al., 1999). Similarly, it was found that SOC is important in increasing the quality of life of individuals with mental (e.g., schizophrenia) and physical (e.g., coronary heart disease) illnesses which also implies the presence of some adaptive way of coping with the source of stress (Eriksson & LindstrSm, 2007). …