Depression is common in adolescent offspring of depressed parents and can be prevented, but adoption of prevention programs is dependent on the balance of their incremental costs and benefits.
To examine the incremental cost-effectiveness of a group cognitive behavioral intervention to prevent depression in adolescent offspring of depressed parents.
Cost-effectiveness analysis of a recent randomized controlled trial.
Kaiser Permanente Northwest, a large health maintenance organization.
Teens 13 to 18 years old at risk for depression.
Usual care (n = 49) or usual care plus a 15-session group cognitive therapy prevention program (n = 45).
Main Outcome Measures
Clinical outcomes were converted to depression-free days and quality-adjusted life-years. Total health maintenance organization costs, costs of services received in other sectors, and family costs were combined with clinical outcomes in a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing the intervention with usual care for 1 year after the intervention.
Average cost of the intervention was $1632, and total direct and indirect costs increased by $610 in the intervention group. However, the result was not statistically significant, suggesting a possible cost offset. Estimated incremental cost per depression-free day in the base-case analysis was $10 (95% confidence interval, −$13 to $52) or $9275 per quality-adjusted life-year (95% confidence interval, −$12 148 to $45 641).
Societal cost-effectiveness of a brief prevention program to reduce the risk of depression in offspring of depressed parents is comparable to that of accepted depression treatments, and the program is cost-effective compared with other health interventions commonly covered in insurance contracts.