The effects of the economic crisis on families in Italy: Evidence from a large population survey

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In an international context sorely tested by years of economic crisis, the socio-economic situation of Italian families appears to be tough: the ongoing high rates of unemployment have reduced families' standard of living and have also contributed to changes in several areas of family life. The present study is aimed to gain better insights into how families are affected by the crisis and which factors are likely to have the greatest impact in helping families to cope with these challenges. The data used for this study were derived from a recent large population-survey on family relations in Italy:"The Family, a Resource for Society" (Donati 2012). It was a telephone survey using random digit dialing samples of landline and cellular telephone numbers. In this survey all data were collected by trained interviewers using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system. The study is based on a sample of 3.527 individuals, of whom 49.6% male and 50.4% female, aged 30 to 55, living in highly urbanized areas of Italy (46.8% in the North, 19.7% in the Centre and 33.5% in the South). All the interviewees are in a couple relationship: most of the married couples are on their first marriage (58.5%). Married couples have one (24.8%) or more children (27.3%), or no children at all (11.7%); otherwise they are childless unmarried couples (13.4%). A cluster analysis by the economic condition was carried out and two groups of subjects were identified: those who, in the current crisis, are forced to fall into debt and those who manage to make some savings. The two groups are clearly differentiated. Those living in the Islands and in the South, those who have a low level of education, unemployed, redundant and atypical workers, divorced people and people with children live in a situation of greater difficulty (make debts). The analysis of this group, comparatively, highlights how the economic difficulties not only affects the daily lives of people from a material point of view, but have consequences also on relational functioning: there are negative effects on couple satisfaction, parental alliance, parental self-efficacy, and perceived parental stress . Moreover, these negative effects are extended also to the perception of the social context, undermining the sense of trust (narrow, broadened, generalized), the cooperative attitude (narrow, broadened, generalized) and social capital. So, whilst financial and social difficulties are affecting a growing number of households, what is the role of the family? Is the family the ultimate bulwark against the crisis as highlighted by many studies? Results will be discussed trying to answer to these questions.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteth ESFR CONGRESS. “Families in the context of economic crisis. Recent trends in multidisciplinary perspective.”
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014
Evento7th ESFR CONGRESS - Madrid
Durata: 3 set 20146 set 2014




  • economic crisis
  • family


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