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

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International Journal of Public Health



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.


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).


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.


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.

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Correspondence to Isabel Aguilar-Palacio.

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Aguilar-Palacio, I., Carrera-Lasfuentes, P. & Rabanaque, M.J. Youth unemployment and economic recession in Spain: influence on health and lifestyles in young people (16–24 years old). Int J Public Health 60, 427–435 (2015).

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