Salutogenesis describes a theory as to what the core dimensions necessary to help a person to live and cope with life, facilitating the development of health and wellbeing. The theory was developed by Aaron Antonovsky, an American / Israeli sociologist.

According to Antonovsky, the core of salutogenesis was a sense of coherence. A person’s sense of coherence was shaped by three factors

1. Meaningfulness: a belief that things in life are interesting, motivating, and a source of satisfaction (motivational).

2. Comprehensibility: a belief that the challenge is understood and that you can understand events in your life (cognitive).

3. Manageability: a belief that resources to act are available and that things are manageable and within your control (behavioral).

 The metaphor of the river of health describes traditional medicine as helping people who are drowning, preventive medicine which helps people not to fall into the river, but salutogenesis focuses on enabling people to swim. Salutogenesis is not explicitly used in the field of Health Promoting Schools although a number of concepts are closely related. Empowerment, competence, democracy, equity, participation, and a positive and broad understanding of health from Health-promoting schools area also has the same potential and plays a role in enabling people to swim—as single individuals and together.

Jensen BB, Dür W, Buijs G. The Application of Salutogenesis in Schools. 2017;. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-04600-6_22. Review. PubMed PMID: 28590654.

Search the SHE glossary