Article

Impact of economic crisis and other demographic and socio-economic factors on self-rated health in Greece

Department of Health Economics, National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece.
The European Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.59). 10/2012; 23(2). DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/cks143
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background:
Financial crisis and worsened socio-economic conditions are associated with greater morbidity, less utilization of health services and deteriorated population's health status. The aim of the present study was to investigate the determinants of self-rated health in Greece.

Methods:
Two national cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2006 and 2011 were combined, and their data were pooled giving information for 10 572 individuals. The sample in both studies was random and stratified by gender, age, degree of urbanization and geographic region. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the impact of several factors on self-rated health.

Results:
Poor self-rated health was most common in older people, unemployed, pensioners, housewives and those suffering from chronic disease. Men, individuals with higher education and those with higher income have higher probability to report better self-rated health. Furthermore, the probability of reporting poor self-rated health is higher at times of economic crisis.

Conclusion:
Our findings confirm the association of self-rated health with economic crisis and certain demographic and socio-economic factors. Given that the economic recession in Greece deepens, immediate and effective actions targeting health inequalities and improvements in health status are deemed necessary.

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    • "Regarding health inequalities, the research is inconsistent . For instance, findings from Greece, Lithuania, Poland, and Estonia indicate increased proportions of individuals with poor self-rated health (SRH) during the economic crisis12131415, particularly among the un- employed[16], the elderly, and less-educated women[13]. However, a stable proportion of individuals with poor or even declining SRH was found among the general population in Finland[13]and Spain[16], respectively . "
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    • "The effects of the economic crisis and the fiscal adjustments have to some limited extent been considered for health in the Eurozone periphery. Preliminary evidence indicates that the economic crisis and the implementation of austerity measures have worsened self-rated health status as well as several other health indicators (Kentikelenis et al., 2011; Vandoros et al., 2013; Zavras et al., 2013), increased the incident of mental disorders and alcohol abuse (Kentikelenis et al., 2011; Gili et al., 2013; Roca et al., 2013) and led to HIV outbreaks (ECDC, 2012). Evidence also suggests that the Eurozone debt crisis and the policy responses disproportionately affected vulnerable populations in society (see, e.g., Schaltegger and Weder, 2014; for the effects of fiscal consolidation on income inequality). "
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    ABSTRACT: While linkages between some macroeconomic phenomena and suicides in some countries have been explored, only two studies, hitherto, have established a causal relationship between fiscal austerity and suicide, albeit in a single country. The aim of this study is to provide the first systematic multiple--country evidence of a causal relationship of fiscal austerity on time-, gender-, and age-specific suicide mortality across five Eurozone peripheral countries, namely Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain over the period 1968-2012, while controlling for various socioeconomic differences. The impact of fiscal adjustments is found to be gender--, age- and time-specific. Specifically, fiscal austerity has short-, medium- and long-run suicide increasing effects on the male population in the 65-89 age group. A 1% reduction in government spending is associated with an 1.38%, 2.42% and 3.32% increase in the short-, medium- and long-run, respectively, of male suicides rates in the 65-89 age group in the Eurozone periphery. These results are highly robust to alternative measures of fiscal austerity. Improved labour market institutions help mitigate the negative effects of fiscal austerity on suicide mortality.
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    • "Macroeconomic environmental stress poses significant costs to individuals through reduced employment opportunities, decline in incomes and levels of life-satisfaction (Frank et al., 2013; WHO, 2011). Available evidence shows that people report more health and well-being problems during recession periods (Katikireddi et al., 2012; Zavras et al., 2013). The specific economic crisis that began in 2008 deteriorated labour markets and raised job loss rates. "
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