Open Access Research article

Sense of coherence and quality of life in older in-hospital patients without cognitive impairment- a 12 month follow-up study

Anne-Sofie Helvik1234*, Knut Engedal45 and Geir Selbæk456

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Institutt for samfunns medisin, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Postboks 8905, Trondheim NO-7491, Norway

2 Division Tynset, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Tynset, Norway

3 St Olav’s University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

4 National Advisory Unit on Ageing and Health, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway

5 Centre for Old Age Psychiatric Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Ottestad, Norway

6 Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:82  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-82

Published: 19 March 2014



The relation between sense of coherence (SOC) and quality of life (QoL) among older persons has been found in some, but not all, studies and mostly in studies with cross-sectional design. We wanted to study if SOC was associated with domains of QoL at hospitalization and one year later among persons 65 years and above without cognitive impairment.


At hospitalization (T1) and 12 month follow-up (T2) QoL and cognitive status were assessed using the WHOQOL-BREF and the Mini-Mental State Examination. At baseline, the 13-item version of the SOC scale was used to assess coping, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms. Level of functioning was rated using Lawton and Brody’s scales for physical self-maintenance and instrumental activities of daily living (personal and instrumental ADL).


In total, 165 (80 men) persons with a mean age of 77.7 (SD 6.9) years were included. The proportion of people rating their overall QoL as high had decreased from T1 to T2. The mean score on QoL- physical domain had increased, while the mean score of QoL-environmental domain had decreased. In adjusted regression analyses at T1, a high level of SOC was positively associated with QoL in three of four domains, i.e. physical, psychological and environmental, but level of SOC assessed at T1 was not associated with any domain of QoL at T2. Personal ADL was associated with some domains of QOL at T1 and T2.


The SOC level was associated with older adult’s QoL during hospitalization but not their QoL one year after the hospital stay.

Depressive symptoms; Older adults without cognitive impairment; Coping; Mental health; Salutogenetic Theory; Personal ADL