Feasibility and acceptability of video-based microinterventions for eating disorder prevention among adolescents in secondary schools

Mhairi Kristoffersen, Catherine Johnson, Melissa J. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective: Eating disorders (EDs) often emerge in late adolescence. Schools are ideal settings for prevention programs; however, cost and time limit implementation. Microinterventions may overcome these challenges. This study adapted two microinterventions (cognitive dissonance, self-compassion) and assessed feasibility and acceptability among mid-adolescents to provide proof-of-concept for further investigation. 

Method: Feedback from staff (n = 5) and student (n = 15) focus groups contributed iteratively to the adaptation of intervention materials. Students in Grade 10 and 11 (N = 101, Mage = 15.80, SD = 0.68) were then randomly allocated by class to a 20-min video-based cognitive-dissonance or self-compassion intervention, accessed on their school devices. ED risk and protective factors were assessed at baseline, immediate postintervention (state outcomes), and 1-week follow-up (trait outcomes). Acceptability items were included at both timepoints. 

Results: Implementation was deemed feasible. Girls generally reported greater acceptability than boys. Among girls, the self-compassion intervention demonstrated greater acceptability. Among boys, some aspects of acceptability (e.g., lesson endorsement, utilization of techniques) were rated higher in the cognitive dissonance group whereas other aspects (e.g., understanding, interest) were greater in the self-compassion group. All groups exhibited favorable changes in most state outcomes, however trait outcome change was varied.

Discussion: Microinterventions provide a feasible way of implementing prevention strategies in a time-poor educational context. Future large-scale evaluation is warranted to determine efficacy, following modifications based on current findings. 

Public Significance: This study shows promising feasibility and acceptability of two brief, self-guided video-based lessons (microinterventions) for adolescents in school classrooms, that use psychological techniques to target appearance pressures as a key risk factor for eating disorders. Such interventions are easier to implement in school settings than longer, facilitator-led interventions, to encourage greater uptake and ongoing use. Findings support further research to evaluate effectiveness, to ultimately provide accessible and gender-inclusive tools for busy schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1496-1505
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume55
Issue number11
Early online date19 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • body image
  • cognitive dissonance
  • feeding and eating disorders
  • media pressures
  • microintervention
  • risk factors
  • schools
  • self-compassion

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