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Sense of coherence

Sense of coherence (SOC) is a term for a psychological construct that explains the part of the personality that enables some people to cope and integrate different experiences. SOC integrates the meaningfulness, comprehensibility and manageability of the situations experienced. SOC has been particularly studied in the context of illness and illness trajectories.


The aim of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to test the effectiveness of a post-ICU recovery program compared to standard care during the first year after ICU discharge.

A pragmatic, non-blinded, multicenter, parallel-group RCT was conducted between December 2012 and December 2015, at ten intensive care units (ICUs) in Denmark. We randomly assigned 386 adult patients (≥18 years) after receiving mechanical ventilation (≥48 h) to standard care (SC) plus a nurse-led intensive care recovery program or standard care alone after ICU discharge (190 intervention, 196 SC). Primary outcome was health-related quality of life (HRQOL) at 12 months. Secondary outcomes were sense of coherence (SOC), anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assessed at 3 and 12 months after ICU discharge including utilization of healthcare services at 12 months.

At 12 months, we found no differences in HRQOL between groups (mean difference in the Physical Component Summary score, 1.41 [95 % CI, −1.53 to 4.35; p = 0.35] (n = 235); and in the Mental Component Summary score, 1.92 [95 % CI, −1.06 to 4.90; p = 0.11] (n = 235). No differences were found on self-reported SOC (p = 0.63), anxiety (p = 0.68), depression (p = 0.67), PTSD (p = 0.27), or the utilization of healthcare services including rehabilitation. We found a difference on anxiety, when a cut-off point ≥11 was applied, in per protocol analysis of complete cases at 3 months favoring the intervention (8.8 % vs. 16.2 %, p = 0.04).

The tested recovery program was not superior to standard care during the first 12 months post-ICU.


Jensen, J.F., Egerod, I., Bestle, M.H. et al. A recovery program to improve quality of life, sense of coherence and psychological health in ICU survivors: a multicenter randomized controlled trial, the RAPIT study. Intensive Care Med 42, 1733–1743 (2016). Doi: 10.1007/s00134-016-4522-1


Last Updated 01.07.2023