Prevention of perinatal depression with counseling in adolescents: a cost-effectiveness analysis

Gabriel Franta, Alyssa R. Hersh, Nicole H. Cirino, Aaron B. Caughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: The US Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that clinicians refer all pregnant and postpartum individuals at increased risk of perinatal depression to a counseling intervention. Adolescents are considered a high-risk group for perinatal depression. Therefore, we examined whether it is cost effective for all pregnant adolescents to be referred for preventive counseling. Study design: We developed a decision-analytic model using TreeAge Pro software to compare outcomes in pregnant adolescents who received versus did not receive counseling interventions. We used a theoretical cohort of 180,000 individuals, which is the estimated annual number of births to persons ≤ 19 years in the US. Outcomes included perinatal depression, chronic depression, maternal suicide attributed to depression, preterm delivery, neonatal death, cerebral palsy, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), in addition to cost and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). The willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold was set to $100,000/QALY. We derived model inputs from the literature, and sensitivity analyses were used to assess robustness of the model. Results: A strategy of referral to counseling interventions was cost effective in our theoretical cohort, with 8935 fewer cases of perinatal depression, 1606 fewer cases of chronic depression, 166 fewer preterm deliveries, 4 fewer neonatal deaths, 1 fewer case of cerebral palsy, 20 fewer cases of SIDS. In total, there were 21,976 additional QALYs and cost savings of $223,549,872, making it the dominant strategy (better outcomes with lower costs). We found that counseling interventions remained cost saving until the annual direct and indirect cost of chronic, severe depression was set below $30,000, at which point it became cost effective (baseline input: $182,309). Conclusion: We found it was cost effective to refer all pregnant adolescents for preventive counseling interventions. Clinicians should develop approaches to identify and refer pregnant adolescents for behavioral counseling to prevent perinatal depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9593-9599
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number25
StatePublished - 2022


  • Perinatal mental health
  • adolescent health
  • cost-effective analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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