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Distribution and evaluation of sense of coherence among older immigrants before and after a health promotion intervention - results from the RCT study promoting aging migrants' capability

Journal article
Authors Lea Annikki Arola
Emmelie Barenfeld
Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Greta Häggblom Kronlöf
Published in Clinical Interventions in Aging
Volume 13
Pages 2317-2328
ISSN 1178-1998
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 2317-2328
Language en
Keywords sense of coherence, salutogenesis, health, old age, migration, elderly-persons, risk-zone, migration, sweden, populations, experiences, occupation, adults, care, Geriatrics & Gerontology, lstein mf, 1975, journal of psychiatric research, v12, p189, B, 2016, SCB. statistikdatabasen. Befolknings statistik. Total folkmangd
Subject categories Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences, Geriatrics


Background: The migration process can be a threat to a person's sense of coherence (SOC) and to their ability to experience life as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. Seen from a salutogenic perspective, this may have a negative impact on the experience of health. Purpose: We describe the distribution of SOC and its components among older persons with an immigrant background now aging in Sweden. In addition, we evaluated whether a group-based health promotion program with a person-centered approach could support the SOC among older persons in this group. Materials and methods: A randomized controlled trial with postintervention follow-ups at 6 and 12 months was conducted with 131 independently living persons aged >= 70 years from Finland and the Balkan Peninsula. Participants were randomly allocated to an intervention group (4 weeks of group intervention and one follow-up home visit) and a control group (no intervention but access to ordinary health care services). The outcome measure was the SOC measured by SOC-13. Chi-square and ORs were calculated. Results: There was a significant improvement in total SOC scores for the intervention group at 6-month follow-up. Also, the ORs for the SOC components were higher in the person-centered intervention group. However, we found no significant between-group differences nor did the effect last until the 12-month follow-up. Conclusion: Persons who have lived a long time in a host country after migration seem to have a SOC similar to native-born persons. Interventions with a person-centered approach could support the SOC by capturing individual life situations. Such interventions could support older persons by making everyday life more comprehensible and manageable and helping them to cope with challenges in daily life caused by aging.

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