Vulnerable population and health status in a neighbourhood in Zaragoza (Spain)

Authors

  • I. Aguilar-Palacio MD and MPH,

    1. Departamento de Microbiología, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
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  • M. Gil-Lacruz PhD,

    1. Área de Psicología Social, Departamento de Psicología y Sociología, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
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  • A. I. Gil-Lacruz PhD

    1. Departamento de Economia, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
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M. Gil-Lacruz
Área de Psicología Social
Departamento de Psicología y Sociología
Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Universidad de Zaragoza
C. Doctor Cerrada 1-3
50.005 Zaragoza, Spain
E-mail: mglacruz@unizar.es

Abstract

This paper aims to identify the inter-relationships between the social factors that influence epidemiological patterns in the city neighbourhood of Casablanca, Zaragoza (Spain). Data for a cross-sectional survey were collected between January 2008 and April 2008 from a representative random sample of 1032 residents aged more than 15 years. The study interview contained information scales on healthcare behaviours, treatment evaluation, the number of medical consultations in the weeks pervious to the interview and the perceived health status of the respondents, using The Health Perception Questionnaire. The global index (continuous variable) allowed inferences to be made on the individual’s perception of his/her own health. The assessment of social vulnerability was based on the occupational, educational and economic conditions of the interviewees. An individual was considered to belong to a vulnerable subeconomic group if he/she had a personal income of 6000 euros or less; or had no formal education or had been educated up to primary school level only; or was not in paid employment at the time of the interview. A descriptive and comparative analysis of the vulnerable and non-vulnerable population groups for perceived and diagnosed health variables was undertaken using parametric and non-parametric tests. A total of 550 interviewees (53.3%) were considered vulnerable people. Low level of instruction (primary or no education) was the main characteristic of this group (356 subjects, 64.7% of those identified as vulnerable). Binary logistic regression was used to analyse the association between belonging to the vulnerable group and a number of health variables adjusted for gender, age and area of residence. The vulnerable group had worse levels of perceived health even when controlled for gender and area of residence. In Casablanca, the place of residence is an important social stratification indicator reflected in the characteristics of the vulnerable population group and its perceived health.

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