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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

Authors Arola LA, Barenfeld E, Dahlin-Ivanoff S, Häggblom-Kronlöf G

Received 21 June 2018

Accepted for publication 27 September 2018

Published 14 November 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2317—2328


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

LA Arola,1–5 E Barenfeld,1–3 S Dahlin-Ivanoff,1–3,* G Häggblom-Kronlöf1–3,*

1Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Section for Health and Rehabilitation, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC), The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 3Centre for Ageing and Health – Agecap, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 4National Graduate School on Ageing and Health – SWEAH, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; 5Department of Health and Welfare, Arcada University of Applied Science, Helsinki, Finland

*These authors contributed equally to this work

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.

Keywords: sense of coherence, salutogenesis, health, old age, migration

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