Body dissatisfaction: Can a short media literacy message reduce negative media exposure effects amongst adolescent girls?
Halliwell, E., Harcourt, D. and Easun, A. (2011) Body dissatisfaction: Can a short media literacy message reduce negative media exposure effects amongst adolescent girls? British Journal of Health Psychology, 16 (2). pp. 396-403. ISSN 1359-107X
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/135910710X515714
Objectives This experimental study examined whether a brief video intervention identifying the artificial nature of media images could protect adolescent girls from negative media exposure effects and body dissatisfaction. Design A 2 (intervention condition)×2 (exposure condition) between-groups design was used. Methods Participants were 127 British girls aged between 10 and 13 recruited from two secondary schools. Girls were assigned to one of four experimental conditions. An intervention video was shown to half of the girls immediately before they viewed ultra-thin models or control images. The video was developed by Dove's Self-Esteem Fund and has the benefits of being professionally produced and freely available through the internet. Results In the absence of the intervention video, viewing thin idealized models was associated with lower state body satisfaction and lower state body esteem than exposure to control images. However, viewing the video intervention immediately before exposure prevented this negative exposure effect. Conclusion The results suggest that, in the short term, this widely available video prevents girls from making damaging social comparisons with media models. Although this study only examined short-term effects, the findings add to the growing evidence that media literacy interventions may be useful tools in protecting young girls from body dissatisfaction.