School-based eating disorder prevention: A pilot effectiveness trial of teacher-delivered Media Smart
Wilksch, Simon Mark
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AIM: This pilot study tested teacher-delivered Media Smart, a school-based eating disorder prevention program that has achieved significant benefits when delivered by health professionals. METHOD: Two Grade 7 classes (N = 51; M age = 12.43 years) participated, with one randomly allocated to Media Smart (n = 27; 67% girls) and the other to a control condition of usual lessons (n = 24; 37% girls). Program feasibility was assessed by teacher self-report, whereas student self-report of shape and weight concern (primary outcome variable) and seven additional risk factors were measured at baseline, post-program and 6-month follow up. RESULTS: Teacher ratings of program feasibility revealed that 25 of the 29 (86.2%) program activities were taught with 96% of activities rated as either highly (19 activities) or moderately (5 activities) valuable for students. Mixed model analyses were conducted using a 2 (group: Media Smart, control) × 2 (time: post-program, 6-month follow up) × 2 (gender: girls, boys) design, with baseline scores as a covariate. A not-significant trend for group favouring Media Smart was observed for shape and weight concern (Cohen's d effect size [d] = 0.32), whereas significant effects were found for feelings of ineffectiveness (d = 0.52) and weight-related peer teasing (d = 0.68). CONCLUSIONS: The program was feasible for teacher delivery and showed some promising results, supporting a more substantial randomized-controlled effectiveness trial.