alexa Developing sense of coherence in educational contexts: making progress in promoting mental health in children.


Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology & Mental Health

Author(s): Krause C

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Abstract The notion of salutogenesis was developed by Aaron Antonovsky to achieve a fundamental innovative approach to promoting mental health. Within the concept of salutogenesis, the author defined the sense of coherence (SOC) as a global life orientation, and he suggests that it emerges in the early years of childhood. In order to develop coherence and its components it is necessary to explore certain health resources. In this paper the following questions will be discussed: (1) which are the individual and social resources to keep healthy, and (2) how can these resources be activated? Selected empirical findings will be presented to respond to these research questions. The results show that resources such as self-worth and a sense of belonging are fundamental health factors. They can be developed most effectively in the early years of childhood and through the formal educational system, e.g. in kindergartens and primary schools. However, the findings show that professionals need to be trained to be able to deliver educational programmes in terms of salutogenesis. At the same time, experience shows that promoting health resources in children successfully depends on the participation of the parents and their support by the professional educators. This paper aims to present new ideas and experiences in the area of a practical realization of the concept of salutogenesis in educational systems. Particularly, health promotion programmes, for example 'The I am I programme' ( Krause, 2009 ), could be implemented successfully in kindergartens with a high quota of children with an immigrant background, due to the fact that this programme includes the reflection and experience of cultural traditions, food, songs, dancing, and family rituals. This article was published in Int Rev Psychiatry and referenced in Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology & Mental Health

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