Impact of interactive school-based media literacy lessons for reducing internalization of media ideals in young adolescent girls and boys

Objective: The primary objective of the current study was to examine the efficacy of single media literacy lessons in reducing media internalization in young adolescents. Method: Eleven classes of 237 students (100 girls and 137 boys; mean age = 13.79 years, SD = .42) randomly received 1 of 6 lessons. Eating disorder risk factors were assessed at baseline, and the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire-3 (SATAQ-3) was used to assess media internalization postintervention. Results: At postintervention, boys had significantly lower SATAQ-3 scores on 4 of the 5 subscales (effect sizes = .42–.71), whereas girls had significantly lower scores on 1 subscale (effect size = .54). Higher baseline levels of dietary restraint, magazines bought/read, and perceived sociocultural pressure predicted smaller reductions in boys' scores, whereas depression predicted smaller reductions in girls' scores. Conclusion: The current study provides support that boys be included in eating disorder prevention programs and that media literacy may represent a promising prevention approach.

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