Health behaviours learned in adolescence set precedence for healthy habits that extend throughout the lifespan. During adolescence transitions take place that lay the foundations for health and wellbeing in adulthood. This study is underpinned by two frameworks: Antonovsky’s theory of salutogenesis and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. Research evidence within the salutogenic paradigm suggests that both the strength of an individual’s Sense of Coherence (SOC) and the Sense of Family Coherence (SOFC) are linked to positive health outcomes. This study aimed to explore how family life is associated with the development of SOC in adolescents. To achieve this a fully integrated longitudinal mixed method research design was employed. Data were collected through mixed method surveys in three waves and semi-structured family interviews using genograms and ecomaps as data collecting tools. The sample was purposively selected from one school and consisted of Swedish-speaking Finns: 65 adolescents, 89 parents and 56 families. Longitudinal data were generated from 18 families. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, content analysis and thematic analysis. The study findings add to the body of knowledge of the sparsely researched area of a collective SOC. Developmental processes of SOC were found to take place in several environments of development simultaneously, with each of these environments providing diverse contexts for complex non-linear and overlapping processes influencing social, physical and mental dimensions of wellbeing. It was however not the contexts of development that were the most crucial factors influencing SOC but rather the processes that took place within these contexts. The findings suggest a reciprocal relationship between SOFC and SOC, with a strong SOFC promoting the development of a strong SOC in adolescents. Individuals with strong SOC scores and families with strong SOFC scores voiced an understanding of beliefs, facts and values deemed important for health and wellbeing. They also demonstrated insight into what actions are needed and should therefore be taken when aiming to promote the health and wellbeing of adolescents. This study recommends that a salutogenic discourse of health should be implemented when planning and implementing policies and strategies aimed at promoting the health and wellbeing of adolescents and their families, leading to improved health and wellbeing.
|Publication status||In preparation - Sep 2015|