Longitudinal Trends in Self-Rated Health During Times of Economic Uncertainty in Italy

  • Giovanni PiumattiEmail author
Original Research


Previous research examining self-rated health (SRH) outcomes following the 2008 financial crisis in the most affected European countries has reported mixed results: some indicated an improvement in SRH during the crisis while others showed a decline. This study analysed longitudinal SRH trends across age groups in Italy between 2004 and 2015 adopting a longer period for health data and adjusting for pre-existing trends. Data consisted of 97,250 Italian adult residents (aged 18 to 81) from nine cohorts collected with an accelerated longitudinal design between 2004 and 2015 by the Italian National Institute of Statistics using questionnaires from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. Latent growth modeling analysed longitudinal SRH trends by different age groups in each cohort along 4-year assessments. Consistently across cohorts, SRH declined among participants aged 71 to 81 while it remained more stable for those aged 30 to 50. The worst SRH trends were observed in the 2010–2013 period where SRH declined in all age groups except for the those aged 31 to 40. Conversely, in the 2008–2011 period SRH remained stable. While at the aggregate level there seems to be a slight overall positive trend in SRH after the crisis, this long-term longitudinal stability in SRH may mask consistent within-country contrasted trends in health outcomes across different age groups. Periods of economic uncertainty and austerity measures coincided with a decline in SRH among the normal adult population in Italy.


Italy Global financial crisis Self-rated health Latent growth modeling 



This research has been conducted using the Istat resources under Application Number 02814/2018. The data reported in this article are available via application directly to Istat. The author wishes to thank Dr. Cecilia Morello for the support provided during the drafting of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Unit of Development and Research in Medical Education (UDREM)University of Geneva, Medical School (CMU)GenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Population Epidemiology Unit, Primary Care DivisionGeneva University HospitalsGenevaSwitzerland

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