This study investigated the relationships between sex, age, stress and sense of coherence (SOC) and each of self-rated health (SRH) and subjective health complaints (SHCs) in adolescents.
The study was based on a cross-sectional sample of 1239 adolescents aged 13-18 years. The participants reported scores on a questionnaire, including 12 items assessing SHC, the 13-item version of the Orientation to Life Questionnaire and the 30-item Adolescent Stress Questionnaire. Data were analysed with descriptive, comparative and hierarchical multiple regression analyses.
Boys scored significantly higher on SRH than girls, whereas girls scored higher on SHCs. In the multivariate model, stress was significantly associated with SHCs, but not with SRH. SOC was significantly positively related to SRH and negatively related to SHC; the associations were significantly stronger for girls than for boys. A significant moderation effect (protective role) of SOC was found on the relation between stress and SHC.
No causal conclusion was possible, but the findings may be used as a basis for further investigation of the role of stress and SOC in longitudinal studies and intervention studies.