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Salutogenesis and empowerment as prominent approaches for a sustainable health promotion: Some theoretical comparisons
University West, Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, Division of Health and Culture.
University West, Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, Division of Health and Culture.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3452-3761
2011 (English)In: Health Technology Assessment Society (HTAi): 8th Annual Meeting, 2011, p. 294-Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Extensive evidence proposes Antonovsky’s salutogenic theory as a pathway to health promotion. The fundamental concept of salutogenesis is Sense of Coherence (SOC). Salutogenesis is defined as the process of movement towards the health-end of the health ease/dis-ease continuum. The aim of empowerment is to reduce inequity through a learning process and mobilize the uneducated for social action. Empowerment is defined as a process enabling the people to increase control over their health determinants. Empowerment still lacks a coherent theoretical basis. It is claimed that empowerment and SOC have much common and are sometimes overlapping. However, the relationship between these concepts has not been verified by research.

Objectives: To compare the salutogenic theory with the empowerment concept and approach.

Methods: Data consists of a worldwide systematic research synthesis (1992-2003) including 471 scientific publications and an on-going follow-up to 2010. The search was performed through PubMed, Libris, ISI, PsychInfo, Cinahl, Social Services Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts. The analysis was conducted by comparing selected indicators of both theories, such as approach, theoretical focus, definitions, orientation, key concepts, measurement instruments, outcomes and applicability.

Findings: There are both similarities and differences between the concepts, which also somewhat overlap. Several unique and distinctive features for each concept were found. Salutogenesis is based on stress theories whereas empowerment has its roots in pedagogy and social psychology. Both concepts are process oriented. Empowerment can be seen as both means and an outcome whereas salutogenesis is a global life-orientation. Both concepts can be applied at the individual, group, health systems and societal levels. Both proved to be effective in promoting health. The two concepts differ when it comes to definitions and theoretical foundations.

Conclusion: Both approaches are promising methods that can lead to improved health outcomes and are seen as viable public health strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. p. 294-
Keywords [en]
Empowerment, salutogenesis, health promotion, theory
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
NURSING AND PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE, Public health science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-3465OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-3465DiVA, id: diva2:427048
Conference
HTAi 2011: HTA for Health Systems Sustainability, 27-29th June, 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Available from: 2011-06-27 Created: 2011-06-27 Last updated: 2014-12-30Bibliographically approved

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