Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study addressed the development and expression of Antonovsky's (1987) Sense of Coherence (SOC) in individual lives in a cross-cultural context. Two groups of subjects were examined using a survey format. One group was from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana and the other from UND. The psychological and physical health of these subjects, their family interaction patterns, and the coping strategies they use were examined to assist in increasing our understanding about how people from different cultures manage stress and stay healthy.

Both groups appear equally healthy, both mentally and physically, and scored equally well on measures of SOC. Negative correlations between SOC and measures of depression, anxiety and physical symptoms were found for both groups. Despite these similarities, the pathways by which the two groups achieved SOC appeared to differ.

T-tests indicated that UND students were from smaller families of higher economic status who were more likely to stress independence, achievement, and active recreation than the Dull Knife Memeorial College students. DKMC students were more likely from larger families of lower economic status who were more likely to stress moral and religious values and to use cognitive restructuring as a coping strategy than the UND students.

Discriminant analyses suggested that membership in each of the two groups could be predicted by: a) socioeconomic status, b) cohesiveness of the family unit, c) the use of cognitive restructuring as a coping strategy, and d) anger of the subject

Multiple regressions suggested that a strong SOC could be predicted in the DKMC sample by frequency of childhood prayer and emotional expressiveness. A strong SOC could be predicted in the UND sample by active recreation, cognitive restructuring, family organization and, interestingly, the number of people in the present family suffering from addiction.