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Open Access Study protocol

Cost-effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for adolescents with antisocial behaviour: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Danielle EMC Jansen12*, Karin M Vermeulen3, Annemieke H Schuurman-Luinge1, Erik J Knorth4, Erik Buskens3 and Sijmen A Reijneveld1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD, the Netherlands

2 Department of Sociology and Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS), University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 31,9712 TG Groningen, the Netherlands

3 Medical Technology Assessment, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands

4 Department of Special Needs Education and Youth Care, University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 38, 9712 TJ Groningen, the Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:369  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-369

Published: 19 April 2013



Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive, short, family- and community-based treatment for serious antisocial behaviour and delinquency in youth. It is an emerging intervention for serious juvenile delinquents. However, conclusive evidence on the balance between costs and effects is limited and in fact non-existent for the Netherlands. The aim of this protocol is to describe the design of a study to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of MST as compared to Care-As-Usual (CAU).


The cost-effectiveness of MST will be assessed through a Randomised Controlled Trial. Primary outcomes aggressive and delinquent behaviour will be assessed with the parent-reported CBCL and adolescent-reported YSR. Health care utilisation, production loss, and quality of life are recorded using the self-report 'Trimbos and iMTA questionnaire on Costs associated with Psychiatric illness' (TiC-P), and with the MOS Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-20) and EuroQol -5D (EQ-5D), respectively. The study aims to enrol 100 clients in both conditions (MST and CAU). Data will be obtained before treatment (T1), immediately after treatment (T2; 5 months after T1) and at follow up (T3; 6 months after the end of the treatment) from a variety of sources, i.e. clients, parents/primary carers, professionals and police records.


Studying the cost-effectiveness of this treatment for youth antisocial behaviour is important in order to provide information to policy makers on whether the provision of this intervention represents good value for money. Introducing a cost-effective evidence based programme may result in valuable health gains for moderate costs.

Trial registration