Health care professionals have been puzzled by the highly positive statements on health and life satisfaction made by seniors, particularly when compared to professionally collected data. In 1987-1988, a stratified, random sample of 520 seniors living independently in the community (70-99 years) were interviewed in their own homes. The above response pattern again held. However, it was apparent that opinions on life satisfaction vary with type of health problem. Content analysis of the spontaneous remarks made by the participants indicates that the overall, current, and anticipated levels of satisfaction expressed were associated significantly with the historical perspective or lifeview of the participants, and with their state of health. Utilizing the theoretical concept "sense of coherence" gives direction to understanding these phenomena.