The objective of this study was to explore two aspects not investigated in a 2.5-year controlled evaluation of an 8-lesson media literacy program. First, the impact of the program on over-evaluation of shape and weight. Second, an examination of the program effects by participant baseline risk of developing an eating disorder. Grade 8 students (N=540, mean age=13.62 years) were assessed at baseline, post-program, 6-month, and 2.5-year follow-up. Controlling for baseline observations, linear mixed model analyses revealed a main effect for group, favouring media literacy, and a group × risk interaction, where high-risk media literacy participants had significantly lower over-evaluation scores than high-risk control participants. Both high-risk media literacy girls and boys, and low-risk media literacy girls scored significantly lower at 2.5-year follow-up than controls. Media literacy can have a lasting, beneficial impact in reducing the core cognitive component of eating disorders in both high- and low-risk young adolescents.
- Eating disorders
- over-evaluation of shape and weight
- risk factors