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Salutogenesis and the Chiropractic Family Lifestyle

A Mission Statement for the Chiropractic Profession and the World

Salutogenesis was first coined by Aaron Antonovsky in his 1979 book Health, Stress and Coping. According to Antonovsky, “life experiences help shape one’s sense of coherence (a global orientation); life is understood as more or less comprehensible, meaningful and manageable.” According to Bergman et al, “Comprehensibility means that the world is interpreted as rational, understandable, structured, ordered, consistent and predictable, a dimension referring to the cognitive controllability of one’s environment. Manageability denotes the extent to which individuals perceive that resources are at their disposal which are adequate to meet the demands. The meaningfulness represents the motivational component. It refers to the extent to which a person feels that life makes (sic) sense emotionally, that at least some of the problems and demands posed by living are worth investing energy in, are worthy of commitment and engagement, and are challenges to ‘welcome’ rather than burdens that one would much rather be without.” 

Case-in-point, Antonovsky and his contemporaries argued that the more a person comprehends the world around them, assigns meaning to experiences and can manage stressful events, the better health he or she will express. Antonovsky was the first scholar to describe health as a continuum existing between the extreme of total absence of health and total health. By and large, this model helps to better illustrate how humans promote ease or health and resisting illness as opposed to treating dis-ease. According to Super et al, “Sense of coherence (SOC) reflects a coping capacity of people to deal with everyday life stressors.” As coping capacity improves, so does health. Therefore, improving SOC decreases the likelihood of poor lifestyle choices, health disease incidence, mortality risk, and improves mental health and quality of life. Because an individual’s SOC develops early in life, conceivably throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, it can have a profound effect on an individual’s life trajectory. 

Within the construct of the salutogenic model exists the concept of generalized resistance resources. “The term generalized resistance resources (GRR) was coined by Antonovsky and comprises the characteristics of a person, a group or a community that facilitate the individual’s abilities to cope effectively with stressors and contribute to the development of the individual’s level of SOC2.” Specific examples of GRRs include individual resources such as attitude, self-efficacy beliefs, or knowledge or environmental resources such as social support and cultural stability. When GRRs are present, SOC improves. 

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