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Cost-effectiveness analysis of parenting interventions for the prevention of behaviour problems in children

Camilla Nystrand, Inna Feldman, Pia Enebrink and Filipa Sampaio

PLOS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, issue 12, 1-17

Abstract: Background: Behavior problems are common among children and place a high disease and financial burden on individuals and society. Parenting interventions are commonly used to prevent such problems, but little is known about their possible longer-term economic benefits. This study modelled the longer-term cost-effectiveness of five parenting interventions delivered in a Swedish context: Comet, Connect, the Incredible Years (IY), COPE, bibliotherapy, and a waitlist control, for the prevention of persistent behavior problems. Methods: A decision analytic model was developed and used to forecast the cost per averted disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) by each parenting intervention and the waitlist control, for children aged 5–12 years. Age-specific cohorts were modelled until the age of 18. Educational and health care sector costs related to behavior problems were included. Active interventions were compared to the waitlist control as well as to each other. Results: Intervention costs ranged between US$ 14 (bibliotherapy) to US$ 1,300 (IY) per child, with effects of up to 0.23 averted DALYs per child (IY). All parenting interventions were cost-effective at a threshold of US$ 15,000 per DALY in relation to the waitlist control. COPE and bibliotherapy strongly dominated the other options, and an additional US$ 2,629 would have to be invested in COPE to avert one extra DALY, in comparison to bibliotherapy. Conclusions: Parenting interventions are cost-effective in the longer run in comparison to a waitlist control. Bibliotherapy or COPE are the most efficient options when comparing interventions to one another. Optimal decision for investment should to be based on budget considerations and priority settings.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225503

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