Youth unemployment and economic recession in Spain: influence on health and lifestyles in young people (16-24 years old)

Int J Public Health. 2015 May;60(4):427-35. doi: 10.1007/s00038-015-0668-9. Epub 2015 Feb 28.


Objectives: To explore health status and lifestyles in young Spanish people in 2006 and 2012, the changes between these 2 years and the influence of employment status on health and lifestyles in this period.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of the Spanish National Health Surveys 2006 and 2011/12 in people 16-24 years old (3701). Regression analyses for pooled cross-sectional data were developed. Employment status was considered as explanatory variable of health (self-rated health, diagnosed morbidity and mental disorders) and lifestyles (overweight, tobacco and alcohol consumption).

Results: Male unemployment was associated with poor self-rated health (OR 1.88; CI 95 % 1.00-3.53), mental disorders (OR 2.42; CI 95 % 1.02-5.76) and tobacco consumption (OR 1.62; CI 95 % 1.00-2.62). During the economic recession, young people presented better health results than in 2006. Unemployed who had never worked consumed less tobacco and alcohol than short-term unemployed.

Conclusions: Unemployment was associated in young men with poor self-rated health, mental illness and tobacco consumption. Despite the economic recession, young people presented better self-rated health, diagnosed morbidity and mental health in 2012 than in 2006, especially in women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Economic Recession / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult