Can a costly intervention be cost-effective? An analysis of violence prevention

E. Michael Foster, Damon Jones, Karen L. Bierman, John D. Coie, Kenneth A. Dodge, Mark T. Greenberg, John E. Lochman, Robert J. McMahon, Ellen E. Pinderhughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the cost-effectiveness of the Fast Track intervention, a multi-year, multi-component intervention designed to reduce violence among at-risk children. A previous report documented the favorable effect of intervention on the highest-risk group of ninth-graders diagnosed with conduct disorder, as well as self-reported delinquency. The current report addressed the cost-effectiveness of the intervention for these measures of program impact. Design: Costs of the intervention were estimated using program budgets. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were computed to determine the cost per unit of improvement in the 3 outcomes measured in the 10th year of the study. Results: Examination of the total sample showed that the intervention was not cost-effective at likely levels of policymakers' willingness to pay for the key outcomes. Subsequent analysis of those most at risk, however, showed that the intervention likely was cost-effective given specified willingness-to-pay criteria. Conclusions: Results indicate that the intervention is cost-effective for the children at highest risk.Froma policy standpoint, this finding is encouraging because such children are likely to generate higher costs for society over their lifetimes. However, substantial barriers to cost-effectiveness remain, such as the ability to effectively identify and recruit such higher-risk children in future implementations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1291
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume63
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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