The effects of the economic crisis on the older population in Italy: is the recession bad for their health?

Elisa Cisotto, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Giulia Cavrini, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Alessandra Samoggia, Università di Bologna
Cecilia Tomassini, Università degli Studi del Molise

The impact of an economic crisis may be particularly acute for older adult, highly vulnerable to decreases in investments in social security and social and health services. The main aim of our study is to examine whether and how the current economic crisis has substantially affected the self-perception of health of older people in Italy, highlighting the factors which have the most influence on the observed measures. Annual data from the national survey ‘Indagine Multiscopo Sulle Famiglie – Aspetti della vita quotidiana’ (Aspects of daily life) conducted between 2007 (the year before the beginning of the economic crisis) and 2013 are combined, giving information on more than nineteen-thousand families. Logistic regression models are applied in order to estimate the impact of several factors, as well as the year of the survey, on individuals’ self-rated health (dichotomized as bad or very bad and very good, good or fair health). All computations are run separated by gender and standard errors are clustered within families. We also assessed the inequality of the effects across education level groups. The final sample counts 107.358 individuals aged 55 and over. General trend analysis shows a negative association between the SRH of individuals and the year of observation. This protective effect slightly decreases over time since 2009, but returns to 2008 levels in 2013. However, besides the general short-run trends, preliminary results show relevant variations: the risk of reporting poor self-rated health is higher for unemployed, pensioners, housewives and those suffering from chronic diseases. Accordingly, our first results confirm the expected inequalities across different socioeconomic groups, arguing for further detailed analysis.

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Presented in Session 28: Health disparities and well-being at older ages