Behavior and Social Issues

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 141–152 | Cite as

Providing Effective Interventions May Not Be Enough: The Importance of Cost Analysis in the Behavioral Health System

  • Peter-Cornelius DamsEmail author


The restructuring of the health care delivery system with its growing emphasis on cost-efficient treatment programs constitutes a shift in metacontingencies for the practice of behavioral health services. These changes are important for behavior analysts because funding sources pay increasing attention to the financial impact of behavioral services. This paper reviews two basic types of cost analysis: cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Examples from the behavioral health research literature indicate that information about treatment costs plays a crucial role in the overall evaluation of behavioral treatments and that cost-effective treatments can achieve monetary benefits without compromising treatment integrity. Paraprofessional therapists are a key element of cost-effective treatments. In order to overcome historical barriers to conducting and reporting cost analyses, the behavior analysis community must establish educational and editorial contingencies.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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