The Model of Salutogenesis: Strengths and Missing Subjective and Social Factors

  • T. Faltermaier


The model of salutogenesis has contributed much to our understanding of the determinants of health and has got widespread influence in designing practical approaches especially in health promotion. This contribution reviews the theoretical strengths and limitations of the model salutogenesis in the light of our empirical evidence and gives some suggestions for future research. Although some postulated connections between stress, coping, sense of coherence (SOC) and health have been studied extensively, the role of resources and sense of coherence in the complex long-term pathways to health is still an open question. In particular, the model does not include subjective and social mechanism to health that would be crucial for health psychological approaches, as for example preventive health behaviors and health beliefs. And it does not sufficiently explain the health differential effects of social groups according to SES, age and gender. An extended and integrated model of salutogenesis is suggested that could overcome these limitations. In this framework, new questions for empirical research are formulated including health psychological concepts and social contexts (e.g. worksite, community). Implications for health promotion approaches are discussed.