Original Research

Financial health and sense of coherence

Antoni Barnard, Dorè Peters, Helene Muller
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 8, No 1 | a247 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v8i1.247 | © 2010 Antoni Barnard, Dorè Peters, Helene Muller | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2009 | Published: 04 June 2010

About the author(s)

Antoni Barnard, University of South Africa, South Africa
Dorè Peters, Summit Financial Partners, South Africa
Helene Muller, University of South Africa, South Africa


Orientation: This article reports on a quantitative-relational study addressing the impact of sense of coherence (SOC), which is a psychological-wellness construct, on the financial-health profile of employees in an insurance company.

Research purpose: The objective of the study was to explore the relationship between psychological wellness as operationalised in the SOC construct and in financial health.

Motivation for the study: Financial pressure can be a major stressor in the workplace, affecting employees’ ability to function optimally. The debt crisis in South Africa is therefore necessitating employers to invest in the financial health of their employees. In light of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, employers should, in fact, provide debt counselling to employees struggling with financial problems. In the South African context, however, studies investigating the potential influence of psychological-wellness constructs on financial health are lacking.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional survey design was applied and a quantitative-relational approach followed. From the 1 100 employees in a financial insurance company, 435 completed questionnaires were received.

Main findings: The empirical results indicated a significant relationship between the variables, confirming that a stronger SOC impacts positively on employees’ financial health. A stronger SOC therefore relates positively to more effective debt management and retirement planning.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings emphasised the importance of debt management and retirement planning being addressed and integrated into employee-assistance strategies and programmes.

Contribution/value-add: This study is a significant step in addressing financial health from a psychological perspective.


Employee wellness; financial health; insurance industry; industrial psychology sense of coherence (SOC); quantitative-relational survey design


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