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Why do Italian people rate their health worse than French people do? An exploration of cross-country differentials of self-rated health


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  • Desesquelles, Aline F.
  • Egidi, Viviana
  • Salvatore, Michele A.


The prevalence of bad self-rated health (SRH) varies considerably across countries. Here we present the results of a cross-national comparative study based on the data of National Health Surveys conducted in France and Italy. According to these data, 11% of the Italian and 6% of the French adult population aged between 45 and 74 rate their health as bad or very bad. This gap may result from differences in population structure regarding the individual characteristics (sociodemographic characteristics, diseases and disabilities, lifestyle, and others) that impact on SRH i.e., a structural effect. It may also be that the link between these characteristics and SRH is "country-specific" i.e., a contextual effect. We use logistic regression models to assess the contribution of both explanations. We find that the structural effect plays a prominent role in the higher prevalence of bad SRH in Italy compared to France.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (March)
Pages: 1124-1128

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:6:p:1124-1128

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Keywords: France Italy Self-rated health International comparison;


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Cited by:
  1. George Ploubidis & Emily Grundy, 2011. "Health Measurement in Population Surveys: Combining Information from Self-reported and Observer-Measured Health Indicators," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 699-724, May.
  2. Aline Désesquelles, 2012. "Self-Rated Health of French prison inmates : measurement and comparison with other health indicators," Working Papers 178, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).


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