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Croat Med J. 2007 Oct;48(5):667-74.

Use of preventive health care services among the unemployed in Croatia.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine and Organization of Health Care, Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Zagreb University School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia.



To analyze the association between unemployment and the use of preventive health care services in Croatia.


Data on the use of preventive health care services and employment status were taken from the 2003 Croatia Adult Health Survey. A multistage stratified sample design was used to define a representative sample (n=9070 individuals) of the Croatian general adult population. Binary logistic regression was used for analysis. Odds ratios were estimated for the association between employment status and preventive health care services, controlling for age, sex, region, marital status, level of education, occupation, and distance from general practitioner (GP) facilities.


Our sample comprised 1356 men and 1932 women. Out of them, 382 men (28.2%) and 472 women (24.4%) were unemployed. Unemployment was negatively associated with the use of some preventive health care services in the year before the study among healthy individuals (regular blood pressure control odds ratio [OR], 0.738, 95% CI, 0.576-0.945; blood glucose control OR, 0.751, 95% CI, 0.565-0.999; attending general preventive examinations OR, 0.563, 95% CI, 0.410-0.772) as well as among individuals who reported cardiovascular and/or metabolic diseases (attending general preventive examinations OR, 0.661, 95% CI, 0.456-0.959; receiving doctor's advice for food habit change and influenza immunizations OR, 0.627, 95% CI, 0.424-0.928).


Both the unemployed who had cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and those who did not, used less preventive health services than respective subgroups of the employed. In order to achieve a more equitable distribution of preventive health care services, the Croatian health care system should provide additional attention to the unemployed; for instance by developing a program of preventive health examinations targeting this vulnerable population.

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