Date of Graduation
The purpose of the current study was to determine whether a two-session media literacy program, A.R.M.E.D. (Acknowledging and Rejecting the Media's Influence on Eating and Body Image Disturbances), was an effective intervention for individuals who fell at various points on the eating disorder continuum. Ninety-three female college students participated in the study, with 46 experimental participants attending A.R.M.E.D and 47 participants serving as a control group. Between-subjects analyses did not reveal differences between the experimental and control group on each of the seven dependent variables. Within-subjects repeated measures analyses did, however, reveal that women who attended A.R.M.E.D. significantly reduced their drive for thinness and ineffectiveness from pre-test to follow-up. Internalization of societal standards of beauty and awareness of the thin body ideal also decreased among media literacy participants from pre- to post-test; however, these changes were not long-lasting. Results indicate that booster sessions may be necessary to maintain changes in internalization of societal standards of beauty and awareness of the thin body ideal. The most noteworthy findings of the study were those that were revealed when participants were categorized as having an eating disorder, as being symptomatic of an eating disorder, or as being asymptomatic of an eating disorder. Mixed-model analyses performed on pre-test, post-test, and follow-up data suggest that women responded differently to media literacy depending on their placement on the eating disorder continuum. Women who were placed in the eating disorder group significantly decreased their drive for thinness, ineffectiveness, and internalization of societal standards of beauty from pre-test to follow-up. This suggests that A.R.M.E.D. may be an effective tertiary treatment intervention. Women who were symptomatic of eating disorders significantly decreased their body dissatisfaction. Internalization of societal standards of beauty also decreased among the symptomatic group; however, these changes were not maintained eight weeks after the program. Although there are implications that A.R.M.E.D. may require follow-up booster sessions, it may be a creative and cost-effective secondary prevention intervention. Women who were asymptomatic of eating disorders did not demonstrate any significant changes from pre-test to follow-up; however, A.R.M.E.D. may be an option for primary prevention programming.
Coughlin, Janelle Wilder, "The efficacy of a media literacy program for the prevention and treatment of eating disturbances: Implications for the continuum model of eating disorders." (2002). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8678.