Gender-Based Relationship between Eating Behavior and Sense of Coherence in Japanese Young Adults

By Horiguchi, Masami; Tanaka, Gohichi et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, January 2016 | Go to article overview

Gender-Based Relationship between Eating Behavior and Sense of Coherence in Japanese Young Adults


Horiguchi, Masami, Tanaka, Gohichi, Ogasawara, Haruko, Maruyama, Ryoko, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Eating behavior affects one's health status; for instance, breakfast eating habits are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle (Chen et al., 2014), and "eating until feeling full and rapid eating increase metabolic risk factors" (Hsieh, Muto, Murase, Tsuji, & Arase, 2011, p. 1266). Further, a vegetarian diet is associated with poor health status (Burkert, Muckenhuber, GroBschadl, Rasky, & Freidl, 2014), and eating behavior in general is also associated with stress (Nevanpera et al., 2013). Research on health concerns using the autogenic model has led to an understanding of sense of coherence (SOC), which is a useful framework for assessing stress coping forces (Antonovsky, 1996a, 1996b).

SOC, which includes the three subscales of comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness, is thought to reflect an ability to deal with stressors and maintain one's health status (Mikami et al., 2013). Comprehensibility is the sense that the events occurring in one's surroundings can be explained and expected. Manageability is the sense that resources can be obtained at any time to respond to a given request. Meaningfulness is the sense of value derived from being involved in challenging circumstances (Antonovsky, 1993, 1996b; Eriksson & Lindstrom, 2005). Lindmark, Stegmayr, Nilsson, Lindahl, and Johansson (2005) examined the relationship between dietary intake and SOC, and showed that men and women who had high SOC scores made healthier food choices than did those with low scores. Accordingly, we researched the relationship between eating behavior and SOC. Antonovsky (1993) developed the salutogenic model as a health continuum concerning ease/disease in opposition to the pathogenic approach, in which an approach to health is advocated that involves consideration of the causes of disease in order to maintain health. In particular, the relationship between health and stress is considered, and the mechanisms promoting and maintaining health are considered to be crucial (Eriksson & Lindstrom, 2005).

Generalized resistance resources (GRR) refer to people's physical, psychological, social, and cultural resources, and are characterized by consistency, participation in shaping outcomes, and an underload-overload balance of life experiences. For instance, GRR include the following: cash, a stable cognitive and emotional state, flexible coping style, and social support. SOC is enhanced by promotion and awareness of sensory and cognitive experiences (Antonovsky, 1996a).

Maass, Lindstrom, and Lillefjell (2014) reported that health might be facilitated in one's neighborhood mainly by strengthening SOC. Further, SOC has been found to be highly related to psychoemotional resistance resources, and gender differences in SOC were reported as being largely neutral in a study of adults in Finland (Volanen, Lahelma, Silventoinen, & Suominen, 2004). Forming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to dealing effectively with the various stresses experienced in life; hence, there are relationships between health status, lifestyle, stress, and SOC (Garcia-Moya, Moreno, & Rivera, 2013; Halford, Ekselius, Anderzen, Arnetz, & Svardsudd, 2010; Moksnes, Rannestad, Byrne, & Espnes, 2010), and SOC must be engaged in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. In particular, eating behavior is important in the formation and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle (Chen et al., 2014); thus, there is a need to promote health in terms of lifestyle and SOC (Allafi et al., 2013; Moksnes, L0hre, & Espnes, 2013; Ochiai, Daitou, & Aoki, 2012). Appropriate eating behavior leads to good health status in adolescents and young adults, and it also affects the maintenance of health in adulthood and old age. Conversely, unhealthy eating behavior increases the risks of obesity and cardiovascular disease (Hsieh et al., 2011).

The SOC scale, which is used to measure how people deal with and improve stressful situations, has been verified to be reliable, valid, and cross-culturally applicable (Eriksson & Lindstrom, 2005; Togari, Yamazaki, Nakayama, Kimura, & Takayama, 2008). …

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