Can sense of coherence predict therapeutic outcome of a brief guided self-help intervention?
Williams, Mhairi Elizabeth
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Background: The construct sense of coherence (SOC) is proposed to explain the variation in the way people cope and it has been linked with positive mental health. Evidence suggests that level of SOC may be able to predict therapeutic outcome. There is a lack of evidence regarding individual predictors for treatment response of guided self-help services. Therefore, SOC is an important construct to consider. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a client’s sense of coherence at the start of a guided self-help intervention could predict their therapeutic outcome. The possibility that coping style mediated this relationship was also examined. Method: The study employed a longitudinal survey design. Participants were patients aged 30-64 years attending a guided self-help service for mild-moderate psychological difficulties. Participant data was collected pre and post intervention (3 weeks to 3 months after initial appointment). Results: A significant negative association was found between SOC and pre intervention anxiety and depression scores. No significant relationship was found between SOC and post intervention anxiety and depression scores (therapeutic outcome). Multiple regression analysis found that sense of coherence and coping style were not significant predictors of therapeutic outcome. Conclusions: It is important to determine the causality of SOC’s relationship with mental health because if SOC can be influenced via psychological intervention this may promote positive mental health and effective coping. Therefore, further research is required to determine if SOC has clinical application.