The purpose of this study was to examine the degree of association between the Sense of Coherence Factor (SOC) and first and second semester grade point average (GPAs) for pharmacy students. In this study an attempt was made to determine if the SOC factor would increase the predictive power of pre-pharmacy GPA and Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores, two traditional variables that pharmacy schools use as criteria for admittance. The theoretical framework for the study was based on Aaron Antonovsky's model of a salutogenic orientation to complete physical, emotional and mental health and well being. One's orientation to health is related to one's ability to handle the stressor experiences of life that affect health status outcome. Eight schools, chosen from the eight districts of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), participated in the study. The Sense of Coherence Questionnaire, which consisted of twenty nine likert scaled questions and a demographic sheet, was administered to the students. At the end of the school year, pre-pharmacy GPA, PCAT scores, first and second semester grade point averages were obtained from school officials. There were 288 Caucasians, 71 Asians, 66 African-Americans, 16 Hispanics, 10 Other Blacks, 6 Native Americans and 6 Others in the study. Data were analyzed using multiple regression, frequency distributions, Pearson Product Moment Correlation and Chi Square. Results indicated that for the total sample of pharmacy students, the SOC factor is positively correlated with first and second semester pharmacy school GPA. The correlation is weak, but statistically significant. For the total sample, OC did increase the predictive power of pre-pharmacy GPA and PCAT. For the three major ethnic groups in the study, Caucasians, Asians and African-Americans, there were statistically significant differences in the regression equations and many of the demographic variables. The findings of this study suggest that further research is needed to validate the SOC factor as a predictor of pharmacy school GPA. Further research might include administering the Sense of Coherence to an applicant pool to gain a better understanding of the students applying to pharmacy school, i.e., comparing traditional admission criteria with SOC factor.
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