All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Recourse to Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) at Times of Economic Crisis: The Case of Italy

DOI: 10.4236/jss.2017.57023, PP. 370-386

Keywords: Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM), Crisis, Healthcare Behaviour, Health Inequalities, Health Systems

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


The economic crisis that has invested western countries in the last years has determined a significant reduction in consumption of medication and treatments recourse, too. The Economic recession is generally accompanied by a decrease in health-related consumption, varying according to the welfare model, and especially affecting people of working age with a low income. The present paper focuses on the effects of the economic crisis on users of Complementary/Alternative Medicine treatments (from now on referred as CAM). Based on multi-purpose data analyses, this work aims to examine what kind of strategies such consumers have adopted in order not to neglect their health despite feeling the economic pinch. Our analyses are principally based on ISTAT, Italian National Institute for Recording Statistics findings. Specifically, our research is based on the survey “Health conditions and recourse to health services”. The analysed data refer to the Italian context in the period comprised from 2000 to 2013. The results of this work reveal how, in this delicate phase of the economy, traditional consumers of CAM have signally reduced their use of such treatments. In Italy, in the observed period, factors as working status, age, smoking and chronic diseases have been determinant in the decision to use CAM. The article suggests that, where health is at stake, CAM users are more strategic than the average biomedicine users. Furthermore, confirming the past trend, it shows how difficult it is to afford forms of treatment not covered by the health system as well as it underlines the lack of data for comparison with other countries.


[1]  Marmot, M.G. and Bell, R. (2009) How Will the Financial Crisis Affect Health? BMJ, 338, b1314.
[2]  Catalano, R., Goldman-Mellor, S., Saxton, K., Margerison-Zilko, C., Subbaraman, M., Lewinn, K. and Anderson, E. (2011) The Health Effects of Economic Decline. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 431-450.
[3]  Davies, R., Jones, P. and Nunez, I. (2009) The Impact of the Business Cycle on Occupational Injuries in the UK. Social Science & Medicine, 69, 178-182.
[4]  ISTAT (2013) La Salute e il Ricorso ai Servizi Sanitari Attraverso la Crisi. Statistiche Report (Health and Use of Health Services during the Crisis. Statistical Report).
[5]  De Vogli, R. and Gimmeno, D. (2009) Changes in Income Inequality and Suicide Rates after “Shock Therapy”: Evidence from Eastern Europe. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63, 956.
[6]  De Lago, M. (2011) Organ Donors and Transplantations Decrease in Spain, The Leading Country in Both. BMJ, 342, d242.
[7]  McKee-Ryan, F., Song, Z., Wanberg, C.R. and Kinicki, A.J. (2005) Psychological and Physical Well-Being during Unemployment. A Meta-Analytic Study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 53-76.
[8]  De Vogli, R. (2013) Unemployment and Suicides during the Recession in Italy. BMJ, 347, f4908.
[9]  Halliday, T.J. (2014) Unemployment and Mortality: Evidence from the PSID. Social Science & Medicine, 113, 15-22.
[10]  Tognetti Bordogna, M. (2014) From Medicalisation to Pharmaceuticalisation a Sociological Overview. New Scenarios for the Sociology of Health. Social Change Review, 12, 119-140.
[11]  Kentikelenis, A., Karanikolos, M., Papanicolas, I., Basu, S., Mckee, M. and Stuckler, D. (2011) Health Effects of Financial Crisis: Omens of a Greek Tragedy. The Lancet, 378, 1457-1458.
[12]  Ashton, J.R., Middleton, J.R. and Lang, T. (2014) Open Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on Food Poverty in the UK. The Lancet, 383, 1631.
[13]  Tassinari, M., Cerritelli, F. and Roberti di Sarsina, P. (2016) A Commentary on “Alternative, Complementary or Orthodox: What is Real Medicine?” European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare, 4, 472-474.
[14]  Tognetti Bordogna, M. (2011) Regional Health Systems and Non-Conventional Medicine: The Situation in Italy. EPMA Journal, 2, 411-423.
[15]  Sassatelli, R., Santoro, M. and Semi, G. (2015) Deal with the Crisis. How Does the Middle-Class Lifestyle Change. Il Mulino, Bologna.
[16]  Suhrcke, M. and Stuckler, D. (2012) Will the Recession Be Bad for Our Health? It Depends. Social Science & Medicine, 74, 647-653.
[17]  ISTAT (2012) La Povertà in Italia 2011. Statistiche Report (Poverty in Italy 2011. Statistical Report).
[18]  Melucci, A. (2015) Del Prendersi Cura (About the Caring). In: Cardano, S., Manghi, M., Tognetti, M. and Vicarelli, G., Eds., La Salute per Tutti (Health for All), Franco Angeli, Milano, 115-120.
[19]  Roberti di Sarsina, P. and Tassinari, M. (2016) Inclusive Healthcare, Medicine (Health Care) Focused on the Person: A Step beyond Integrative Medicine, Complementary and Alternative, Non Conventional Medicine. Current Traditional Medicine, 2, 18-21.
[20]  CENSIS (2015) 9 Million Opted out of Health Care.
[21]  Davalos, M.E., Fang, H. and French, M.T. (2012) Easing the Pain of an Economic Downturn: Macroeconomic Conditions and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Health Econ, 21, 1318-1335.
[22]  ISTAT (2014) Condizioni di Salute e Ricorso ai Servizi Sanitari, Dati dal 1999 Al 2013 (Health Conditions and Use of Health Services in the Period 1999-2013). ISTAT, Roma.
[23]  Saraceno, C. (2015) Il Lavoro non Basta (The Job Is Not Enough). il Mulino, Bologna.
[24]  Costa, G., Marra, M. and Salmaso, S. (2013) La Salute ai Tempi della Crisi (Health in Times of Crisis). In: Gensini, G.F., Nicelli, A.L., Trabucchi, M. and Vanara, F., Eds., Rapporto Sanità 2013. Sistema Sanitario e Sviluppo del Paese: Alcune Specificità in Tempo di Crisi, Fondazione Smith Kline (Health Report 2013. Health System and Development of the Country: Some Specificities in Times of Crisis, Smith Kline Foundation), Il Mulino, Bologna, 35-115.
[25]  CEIS (2010) Rapporto Sanità 2009. Sanità e Sviluppo Economico (Health Report 2009. Health and Economic Development). Health Communications, Roma.
[26]  Terraneo, M., Sarti, S. and Tognetti Bordogna, M. (2014) Social Inequalities and Pharmaceutical Cost Sharing in Italian Regions. International Journal of Health Services, 44, 761-785.
[27]  CENSIS (2016) Dalla Fotografia dell’evoluzione della Sanità Italiana alle Soluzioni in Campo. Sintesi dei Principali Risultati (Italian Health Systems: A Survey on Its Evolution. Summary of the Main Results). CENSIS, Roma.
[28]  Rossi, E. (2010) Toscana: Cure Dolci Sempre sulla Cresta dell’onda (Tuscany: Delicate Treatments Always on the Footlight). Notiziario Regionale delle Medicine Complementari, 19, 2.
[29]  Barr, B., Taylor-Robinson, D., Scott-Samuel, A., McKee, M. and Stuckler, D. (2012) Suicides Associated with the 2008-2010 Economic Recession in England: Time Trends Analysis. BMJ, 345, e5142.
[30]  Bhui, K.S., Dinos, S., Stansfeld, S.A. and White, P.D. (2012) A Synthesis of the Evidence for Managing Stress at Work: A Review of the Reviews Reporting on Anxiety, Depression, and Absenteeism. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, Article ID: 515874.
[31]  Karanikolos, M., Heino, P., McKee, M., Stuckler, D. and Legido-Quigley, H. (2016) Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Health in High-Income Oecd Countries: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Health Services, 46, 208-240.


comments powered by Disqus

Contact Us


微信:OALib Journal