How the economic recession has changed the likelihood of reporting poor self-rated health in Spain

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Background: Between 2006 and 2011 self-rated health (SRH) (the subjective report of an individual’s health status) actually improved in Spain despite its being in the grips of a serious economic recession. This study examines whether the likelihood of reporting poor health has changed because of the global financial crisis. It also attempts to estimate the differences between SRH and other self-perceived measures of health among groups before and during the current economic crisis in Spain. Methods: Cross-sectional population-based surveys were conducted in Spain (ENSE 2006 and ENSE 2011) and in Catalonia (ESCA 2006 and ESCA 2011) in 2006 and again in 2011. In this research work we have used random effects logistic models (dependent variable SRH 1 Poor, 0 Good) and exact matching and propensity score-matching. Results: The results of the ENSE explanatory variables are the same in both 2006 and 2011. In other words, all diseases negatively affect SRH, whereas alcohol habits positively affect SRH and obesity is the only disease unrelated to SRH. ESCA explanatory variables’ results show that in 2006 all diseases are significant and have large odds ratio (OR) and consequently those individuals suffering from any of these diseases are more likely to report poor health. In 2011 the same pattern follows with the exception of allergies, obesity, high cholesterol and hypertension, albeit they are not statistically significant. Drinking habits had a positive effect on SRH in 2006 and 2011, whereas smoking is considered as unrelated to SRH. The likelihood of reporting poor health in 2006 is added as a variable in with the logistic regression of 2011 and is not, in either the ENSE data or the ESCA data, significant. Furthermore, neither is it significant when controlling by age, gender, employment status or education. Conclusions: The results of our analysis show that the financial crisis did not alter the likelihood of reporting poor health in 2011. Therefore, there are no differences between our perceived health in either 2006 or in 2011 ​
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