Quality of Life Research

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 629–636 | Cite as

Structure of the sense of coherence scale in a nationally representative sample: the Finnish Health 2000 survey

  • Eduardo Bernabé
  • Georgios Tsakos
  • Richard G. Watt
  • Anna L. Suominen-Taipale
  • Antti Uutela
  • Jussi Vahtera
  • Mika Kivimäki



To examine the structure of the sense of coherence (SOC) scale in a general population.


This study analysed the responses of 6,217 subjects aged 30 years and over who participated in the Finnish Health 2000 survey (response rate 77.4%). Participants completed an abbreviated 12-item version of the SOC scale. Two alternative structures were tested using confirmatory factor analysis: a one-factor model, with all scale items loaded onto a single latent factor representing the SOC construct, versus a second-order factor model, with scale items loaded onto their corresponding latent factors representing the three SOC components (comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness), which are, in turn, dependent on one single higher-order SOC construct.


The one-factor model was fitted to the data after allowing the errors of comprehensibility item 5 and manageability item 6 to correlate, as was done in previous studies among Finnish adults. The comparative fit index (CFI), Tucker–Lewis index (TLI) and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) for the one-factor model were, respectively, 0.97–0.98, 0.96–0.97 and 0.05–0.09 across both sexes and three age groups. The second-order factor model had correlations between latent factors higher than 1, even after alternative model modifications, casting doubts on this more complex structure.


These data suggest that the components of comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness should be merged when measuring SOC with the 12-item SOC scale in the Finnish general population.


Sense of coherence Construct validity Confirmatory factor analysis Adults Finland 



Eduardo Bernabé was supported by the Programme Alβan, the European Union Programme of High Level Scholarships for Latin America, Scholarship No. E06D1000352PE. Mika Kivimäki and Jussi Vahtera are supported by the Academy of Finland (projects 117604, 124327 and 124332).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Bernabé
    • 1
  • Georgios Tsakos
    • 1
  • Richard G. Watt
    • 1
  • Anna L. Suominen-Taipale
    • 2
  • Antti Uutela
    • 2
  • Jussi Vahtera
    • 3
  • Mika Kivimäki
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.National Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland

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