Systematic Review of Violence Prevention Economic Evaluations, 2000–2019

  • Cora Peterson
    Address correspondence to: Cora Peterson, PhD, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4770 Buford Highway, Mailstop S106-8, Atlanta GA 30341.
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Megan C. Kearns
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:February 16, 2021DOI:


      Health economic evaluations (e.g., cost-effectiveness analysis) can guide the efficient use of resources to improve health outcomes. This study aims to summarize the content and quality of interpersonal violence prevention economic evaluations.

      Evidence acquisition

      In 2020, peer-reviewed journal articles published during 2000–2019 focusing on high-income countries were identified using index terms in multiple databases. Study content, including violence type prevented (e.g., child abuse and neglect), outcome measure (e.g., abusive head trauma clinical diagnosis), intervention type (e.g., education program), study methods, and results were summarized. Studies reporting on selected key methods elements essential for study comparison and public health decision making (e.g., economic perspective, time horizon, discounting, currency year) were assessed.

      Evidence synthesis

      A total of 26 economic evaluation studies were assessed, most of which reported that assessed interventions yielded good value for money. Physical assault in the community and child abuse and neglect were the most common violence types examined. Studies applied a wide variety of cost estimates to value avoided violence. Less than two thirds of the studies reported all the key methods elements.


      Comprehensive data collection on violence averted and intervention costs in experimental settings can increase opportunities to identify interventions that generate long-term value. More comprehensive estimates of the cost of violence can improve opportunities to demonstrate how prevention investment can be offset through avoided future costs. Better adherence to health economic evaluation reporting standards can enhance comparability across studies and may increase the likelihood that economic evidence is included in violence prevention decision making.
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