Order out of chaos: Sense of coherence and the mediating role of coping resources in explaining mental health during COVID-19 in 7 countries

A. Mana, G. F. Bauer, C. Meier Magistretti, C. Sardu, D. Juvinyà-Canal, L. J. Hardy, Or Catz, M. Tušl, S. Sagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the universal chaos created by it, this study explores the role of sense of coherence (Soc, Antonovsky, 1979) and how it enables coping with a stressful situation and staying well. SOC is a generalized orientation which allows one to perceive the world as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. In an attempt to understand ‘how does the SOC work’ we employed the salutogenic assumption that a strong SOC allows one to reach out in any given situation and find those resources appropriate to the specific stressor. Thus, we hypothesized that the positive impact of SOC on mental health outcomes would be mediated through coping resources that are particularly salient in times of crisis. One resource is related to the micro level (perceived family support) and the other concerns the macro level (trust in leaders and social-political institutions). Data collection was conducted in different countries during May–June 2020 via online platforms. The data included 7 samples of adult participants (age 18–90) from Israel (n ​= ​669), Italy (n ​= ​899), Spain (n ​= ​476), Germany (n ​= ​708), Austria (n ​= ​1026), Switzerland (n ​= ​147), and the U.S. (n ​= ​506). The questionnaires included standard tools (MHC-SF, SOC-13) as well as questionnaires of perceived family support and trust that were adapted to the pandemic context. As expected, SOC was associated with mental health in all the samples. Perceived family support and trust in leaders and social-political institutions mediated the relationships between SOC and mental health, controlling for age, gender, and level of financial risk. It appears that SOC has a universal meaning, not limited by cultural and situational characteristics. The discussion focuses on the theoretical, social, and political applications of the salutogenic model – and its core concept of SOC – in the context of coping with a global pandemic across different cultural contexts and countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100001
JournalSSM - Mental Health
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Mental health
  • Perceived family support
  • Salutogenesis
  • Sense of coherence
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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