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Economic change and population health: lessons learnt from an umbrella review on the Great Recession

Por: Backhaus · I. · Hoven · H. · Di Tecco · C. · Iavicoli · S. · Conte · A. · Dragano · N.

Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the sharpest economic downturn since the Great Recession. To prepare for future crises and to preserve public health, we conduct an overview of systematic reviews to examine the evidence on the effect of the Great Recession on population health.


We searched PubMed and Scopus for systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses focusing specifically on the impact of the Great Recession on population health (eg, mental health). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed throughout this review and critical appraisal of included systematic reviews was performed using Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews.


Twenty-one studies were identified and consistently showed that the Great Recession was most risky to health, the more a country’s economy was affected and the longer strict austerity policies were in place. Consequently, a deterioration of health was highest in countries that had implemented strict austerity measures (eg, Greece), but not in countries that rejected austerity measures (eg, Germany). Moreover, the impact of the Great Recession fell disproportionately on the most vulnerable groups such as people in unemployment, at risk of unemployment and those living in poverty.


The experiences of the last economic crisis show that it is possible to limit the consequences for health. Prioritising mental healthcare and prevention, foregoing austerity measures in the healthcare system and protecting vulnerable groups are the most important lessons learnt. Moreover, given the further aggravating social inequalities, a health in all policies approach, based on a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment, is advised.

Development of the German version of the patient safety climate inventory to the Austrian context

Por: Draganovic · S. · Offermanns · G.

In recent years, patient safety culture (PSC) in hospitals, including its development and measurement, has increasingly received attention in Europe. Even though several instruments have been developed for PSC measurement in European countries, there is, to date, no validated measure to assess PSC in Austria. The study at hand addresses this gap in the evidence base by psychometrically assessing the German ‘Patient Safety Climate Inventory’ (PaSKI) in terms of its potential suitability for the Austrian healthcare system. The goal is to theoretically develop and empirically verify a separate instrument for PSC measurement in Austria.


Ten hospitals.


Healthcare professionals (n=1202); doctors (n=142), nurse (n=645), other health workers (n=51), medical technology professions (n=170), management/administration (n=76), other (n=20), no response (n=98).

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The pretest was conducted with 101 health professionals. Psychometric evaluations, including exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis, were performed with both an original version of the PaSKI and an adapted one. The original PaSKI and the newly adapted ‘Austrian Patient Safety Climate Inventory’ (A-PaSKI) were then compared.


The A-PaSKI’s factor structure developed in our study differs from the original 14-factor structure (49 items) of the PaSKI. The new instrument consists of 10 factors (30 items), comprising seven departmental factors, two hospital factors, and one outcome factor. The new instrument A-PaSKI revealed satisfactory results on the model-level and internal consistency. The confirmatory factor analysis for the A-PaSKI (2 (360)=1408.245, p=0.0001) showed a good model fit, and the absolute and relative fit indices showed an excellent model adjustment. The construct validity was acceptable for nine and unacceptable for one factor.


This is the first validation study of a standardised safety culture measure in Austrian hospitals. The Austrian version of PaSKI demonstrated good psychometric properties, with acceptable to good internal consistency and construct validity for use in Austrian hospitals.

Role of contextual and compositional characteristics of schools for health inequalities in childhood and adolescence: a scoping review

Por: Herke · M. · Moor · I. · Winter · K. · Hack · M. · Hoffmann · S. · Spallek · J. · Hilger-Kolb · J. · Herr · R. · Pischke · C. · Dragano · N. · Novelli · A. · Richter · M.

To synthesise the evidence on the role of compositional or contextual characteristics of schools in the association between students' socioeconomic position and their health in primary and secondary education in developed economies.


Scoping review. We included studies examining the role of at least one school or class characteristic on students’ health inequalities and was published since 1 January 2000, in English or German. We searched PubMed/Medline, Web of Science and Education Resources Information Center. We provided a narrative synthesis and an overview of findings. School characteristics were grouped into five broad categories: school composition, school climate, school policies and organisation, food environment and facilities.


Of 8520 records identified, 26 studies were included. Twelve studies found a moderating and 3 a mediating effect. The strongest evidence came from studies examining the moderating effect of school composition, that is, the negative impact of a low individual socioeconomic position on mental health and well-being was aggravated by a low average socioeconomic position of schools. Evidence concerning the role of school climate, school stratification (eg, performance base tracking) and sponsorship, food environment and sport facilities and equipment was generally weak or very weak and mostly based on singular findings. Overall, favourable meso-level characteristics mitigated the negative impact of low individual socioeconomic position on health outcomes.


School characteristics affect health inequalities in children and adolescents to some degree, but future research is necessary to strengthen the existing evidence and address under-represented aspects in school characteristics and health outcomes.