The migration process can be a threat to a person's sense of coherence (SOC) and to their ability to experience life as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. Seen from a salutogenic perspective, this may have a negative impact on the experience of health.
We describe the distribution of SOC and its components among older persons with an immigrant background now aging in Sweden. In addition, we evaluated whether a group-based health promotion program with a person-centered approach could support the SOC among older persons in this group.
A randomized controlled trial with postintervention follow-ups at 6 and 12 months was conducted with 131 independently living persons aged =70 years from Finland and the Balkan Peninsula. Participants were randomly allocated to an intervention group (4 weeks of group intervention and one follow-up home visit) and a control group (no intervention but access to ordinary health care services). The outcome measure was the SOC measured by SOC-13. Chi-square and ORs were calculated.
There was a significant improvement in total SOC scores for the intervention group at 6-month follow-up. Also, the ORs for the SOC components were higher in the person-centered intervention group. However, we found no significant between-group differences nor did the effect last until the 12-month follow-up.
Persons who have lived a long time in a host country after migration seem to have a SOC similar to native-born persons. Interventions with a person-centered approach could support the SOC by capturing individual life situations. Such interventions could support older persons by making everyday life more comprehensible and manageable and helping them to cope with challenges in daily life caused by aging.