Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Morton O. Wagenfeld

Second Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Caulfield

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua


The predominant model in the study of stress and disease has been identified as the pathogenic orientation. The underlying assumption of this orientation is that stress is, by nature, disease causing. An alternative model is the salutogenic orientation (Antonovsky, 1979). Researchers using the salutogenic approach are concerned with explaining the origins of health. In the present study, a sample of Flemish caregivers {N = 126) to persons with chronic dementing and nondementing disorders is examined in order to detail how sense of coherence (a measure of personality disposition), the nature of patient pathology, demographic characteristics, coping resources, and perceived negative health status interact. Both path analysis and product term analysis techniques are used to test models of the stress-health relationship. While the results demonstrate support for both pathogenic and salutogenic processes, there is clearly more support for the salutogenic components of the models.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access