Cost-effectiveness of multisystemic therapy versus usual treatment for young people with antisocial problems

Vermeulen, K. M., Jansen, D. E. M. C., Knorth, E. J., Buskens, E. & Reijneveld, S. A., 9-Feb-2017, In : Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. 27, 1, p. 89-102 14 p., 8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Copy link to clipboard


  • Cost-effectiveness of multisystemic therapy versus usual treatment for young people with antisocial problems

    Final publisher's version, 297 KB, PDF document


BACKGROUND: Behavioural problems are common among adolescents. The burden on society in social disturbance, health, failures to contribute and costs has triggered innovative community-based interventions such as multisystemic therapy (MST).

AIMS: Our aim was to compare the cost-effectiveness of MST and treatment as usual (TAU).

METHODS: Cost-effectiveness was assessed alongside a randomised clinical trial. One hundred and sixteen adolescents were allocated to MST or TAU. Follow-up lasted six months. Quality of life (EQ-5D) as perceived by the adolescents was the primary outcome. A societal perspective was used for cost assessment.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference between groups in the small improvement experienced in quality of life (EQ-5D average score improvement in both 0.02 points, standard deviation 0.13 MST; 0.23 TAU). Dropout before follow-up was 48% and 69% respectively. Overall costs attributed to these young people were, however, 50% lower in the MST group. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was 384,633€ (95% CI: -2,001,433 to 2,024,681€), which indicates dominance of MST over TAU.

CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Our study shows that, at worst, MST offers no advantage to young offenders in terms of their experienced quality of life, but 'TAU' included family focused intervention as well as standard supervision. There were some cost advantages for the individual and his/her family in the MST group, but substantial cost benefits for wider society. The case for a large, multi-centre, perhaps international trial is strong as widespread implementation of MST would benefit everyone if these findings are confirmed. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9-Feb-2017



ID: 27827256