Have health trends worsened in Greece as a result of the financial crisis? A quasi-experimental approach

Eur J Public Health. 2013 Oct;23(5):727-31. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckt020. Epub 2013 Feb 14.


Background: Health in Greece deteriorated after the recent financial crisis, but whether this decline was caused by the recent financial crisis has not been established. This article uses a quasi-experimental approach to examine the impact of the recent financial crisis on health in Greece.

Methods: Data came from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey for the years 2006-09. We applied a difference-in-differences approach that compares health trends before and after the financial crisis in Greece with trends in a control population (Poland) that did not experience a recession and had health trends comparable with Greece before the crisis. We used logistic regression to model the impact of the financial crisis on poor self-rated health, controlling for demographic confounders.

Results: Results provide strong evidence of a statistically significant negative effect of the financial crisis on health trends. Relative to the control population, Greece experienced a significantly larger increase in the odds of reporting poor health after the crisis (odds ratio, 1.16; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.29). There was no difference in health trends between Poland and Greece before the financial crisis, supporting a causal interpretation of health declines in Greece as a result of the financial crisis.

Conclusion: Results provide evidence that trends in self-rated health in Greece worsened as a result of the recent financial crisis. Findings stress the need for urgent health policy responses to the recent economic collapse in Greece as the full impact of austerity measures unfolds in the coming years.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Economic Recession*
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Health / trends*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Unemployment / psychology*