Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Home Research@UNIMC Vision An interdisciplinary approach Research Unit 1 - Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Research Unit 1 - Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Strategic research lines

1. Life course, ageing processes and culture of ageing: longitudinal analysis of the multifactorial mechanisms
Contact person: prof. Sebastiano Porcu,

The general purpose project is to introduce even in our country the life course approach for the study of the ageing processes which characterize the elderly according to a longitudinal perspective, which can allow to understand the dynamic processes of the various multidimensional factors that operate during the life course with particular reference to the role of the different “cultures of ageing” on the ageing processes and health conditions of the elderly.
Specific objectives:
a) the elaboration of an explanatory longitudinal model aimed to analyze the role that the various dimensions (biological, psychological, social, cultural, economic and institutional) play in the life course, so as to explain the different longevity levels and healthy longevity in particular;
b) the singling out of the different “cultures of ageing” which characterize the biographical trajectories during the life span, with particular reference to the longitudinal analysis of the working of various multifactorial mechanisms previously defined, and, finally, the indications and suggestions that the research outcomes can supply to social and health policies, in particular for the elderly condition and the problem of the long term care.

expertise Expertise and projects

2. Solidariety in health and protection of vulnerable groups
Contact person: prof.ssa Laura Vagni,

Health equality is one of the major challenges of our global world. The communication of the European Commission on “Solidarity in Health: Reducing Health Inequalities in EU” [com 2009 567 final] highlights the need to achieve an equitable distribution of health among European citizens as part of overall social and economic development. Indeed, while the average level of health increased in the EU has continued to improve in the last decades, differences in heath between the most advantages and the most disadvantages sections of the population in some instances have increased. This process reduce social progress and quality of life in Europe. Social and economic factors, such as education, living condition, social cohesion, level of employment, health funding and legal framework of health care are the major causes of inequality both in the access to care and in the successful development of the therapy. Furthermore, belonging to a minority group, such as the Roma people, migrants or patients who suffer from a stigmatized illness, increases health inequality.

The researchers of the University of Macerata can boast expertise in both economic and social studies on health care as well as a consolidated group of research that, in line with the challenges of Horizon 2020, has been developing studies on prevention of heath inequality and protection of vulnerable citizens for many years.

expertise Expertise and projects

3. Social Justice in the 21st Century. Individual Rights and Public Responsibilities for a New Welfare
Contact person: prof.ssa Benedetta Barbisan,

Economists define a nation to be a welfare state when at least 20% of its GDP is spent on health, education and ageing. According to how markets, individual rights, and public policies are combined together, three different models of welfare can be identified: the Social-democratic model, represented by the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands; the Christian democratic model, rooted and developed in Germany, France, and Italy; and the liberal regime, epitomized by the US. Each example of this classification describes a different measure of coexistence between the roles played, on one hand, by the State (with its responsibility) and, on the other hand, by individuals (with their rights) and self-government. Bringing together researchers working in the fields of social policy, history, politics, economics and law, the University of Macerata would like to investigate, through different perspectives, how the relations between individual rights and public responsibility have changed and should change in order to realize a more suited model of welfare state, given the historical transformations triggered by the Great Recession of 2008 and the austerity demanded by EU institutions, the crisis of nation states, and the demographic mutations, with steep increases of the elderly population, a consistent decline in the share of young people, longer life expectancy, unemployment and immigration.

Coordinators of Research Unit and contact persons:

- Benedetta Barbisan:

- Sebastiano Porcu:

- Laura Vagni: