What is salutogenesis?

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Salutogenesis is a concept that focuses on positive wellbeing as a way to enhance overall quality of life. It was introduced in 1979 as the study of health development. The goal is to expand the focus of health research and pay more attention to positive health instead of negative health. Current medical practice focuses heavily on negative health by studying pathogenesis (development of disease). Salutogenesis is all about the origins of health. It is the idea that instead of waiting to get sick to get treatment, live a healthy life that will decrease the severity and instances of disease.اضافة اعلان

Salutogenesis works proactively and prospectively by helping people improve their physical, mental, and social well-being which will improve their health as a result. Studies have shown that improving overall well-being can put you at lower risk for disease. The salutogenic model was developed to study the relationship between health and aspects of wellness such as coping with stress. Research is centered around how a sense of coherence (thinking logically) relates to diseases and illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized that preserving health is a holistic approach that involves many aspects of well-being such as physical, social, mental, and spiritual. Good overall health can be achieved through both positive (salutogensis) and negative (pathogenesis) aspects of health.

Sense of coherence (SOC)

The SOC is defined as “the way of perceiving life and ability to manage successfully the infinite number of stressors that one encounters in one's life”. Through our sense of coherence, we can perceive that we, alone, can manage any, and all the stressors we may be faced with. The SOC measures how people view life and manage stressful situations. This concept was developed to explain why some people get sick when exposed to stress while others stay healthy. Those with a higher SOC are more optimistic and have a higher sense of control. This better equips them to handle any stress that may come their way. SOC can be learned and developed over a lifetime and fluctuates from time to time.

There are three components of SOC. The first is comprehensibility. This is a cognitive aspect which refers to how well a person reacts to internal and external stimuli. It is the ability to understand situations in a rational way despite how difficult they may be. The second is manageability which talks about how well we are able to seek help when needed to manage certain stimuli. For instance, being able to reach out to a family member or friend when in need of help coping rather than struggling through it alone. Improving manageability can also be done alone by searching for positive ways to solve problems. The third aspect of sense of coherence is meaningfulness which is considered a motivational aspect. Feeling like your life has some kind of emotional meaning can come into play when facing certain challenges.

Sense of coherence was built on the idea of salutogenesis and has a lot to do with individual coping mechanisms. This involves the aspects of wellness such as spirituality, which can increase sense of coherence by helping with stress management. This is also true for social as well as physical wellness. Salutogenesis focuses on using different aspects of wellness to improve quality of life and decrease prevalence of certain diseases. As we know, stress can cause many diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Working to increase sense of coherence and stress management can prevent health problems both short and long term.

General resistance resources (GRR)

There are certain aspects that make it easier to cope with stress and view life as understandable and structured. Those factors can be biological, material, and psychosocial. Some examples include:

• Money
• Knowledge and intelligence
• Experience
• Self-esteem
• Healthy behaviour
• Social support
• Ego/identity
• Commitment and cohesion with one’s cultural roots
• Cultural stability
• Ritualistic activities
• Religion and philosophy (e.g., stable set of answers to life’s perplexities)
• Genetic factors
• Preventive health orientation

Someone with access to those resources has a better chance of dealing with stress and have a higher sense of coherence. Resistance resources can be used as a crutch, to help increase your ability to cope, reducing stress and improving quality of life.

Salutogenesis in Jordan and SWPS

The salutogenic wellness promotion scale (SWPS) is a scale that measures health and can demonstrate that participating in health-promoting behaviour can improve overall health and lead to fewer health problems An Arabic version of the SWPS was recently validated using a study done on Jordanian university students. The culture from which college students in Jordan were raised and educated is unique and the decisions and choices made by participants in this study reflected their cultural background. The differences between the original SWPS (developed and validated in the US) and the Arabic version of the tool (tested in Jordan) is likely due to the cultural and social differences. Salutogenesis studies are still being conducted as more research is needed to understand this approach fully.

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