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The co-creation, initial piloting, and protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial of a coach-led positive body image intervention for girls in sport

Matheson, E. L.; Schneider, J.; Tinoco, Aline; Gentili, Caterina; Silva-Breen, Hannah; LaVoi, Nicole M.; White, P.; Diedrichs, Phillippa C.


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Dr Emily Matheson
Senior Research Fellow (Centre for Appearance Research)

J. Schneider

Aline Tinoco

Caterina Gentili

Hannah Silva-Breen

Nicole M. LaVoi

Paul White
Professor in Applied Statistics


Background: Globally, girls disengage from sports at an earlier age and higher rate than boys. This is, in part, due to the unique body image challenges that girls face, relative to their male peers. Existing intervention efforts that aim to reduce girls’ negative body image and movement experiences have proven marginally effective, if not ineffective. This paper outlines the co-creation, initial piloting and protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial of Body Confident Athletes (BCA); an in-person, coach-led intervention that aims to foster positive body image and sports enjoyment among girls. Methods: Following co-creation and an initial pilot, a two-armed cluster randomised controlled trial will assess the immediate (post-intervention) and short-term (1-month and 3-month follow-up) impact of BCA on girls’ (N = 1,036; 11–17 years old) body image, sports enjoyment, and affect. Sport organisations will be randomly allocated (1:1) into either an intervention or waitlist control condition. Girls and coaches in the intervention condition will complete three 60-minute sessions over three consecutive weeks. The primary outcome will be the immediate change in girls’ body esteem, with secondary outcomes assessing the immediate and short-term changes in girls’ body appreciation, self-objectification, attuned self-care, sports enjoyment, and affect. Discussion: This research is the first to utilise an international multi-stakeholder partnership to co-create and evaluate an intervention that addresses the intersection of girls’ body image and sport experiences. The theoretical and methodological considerations of this research have led to a feasible intervention and trial protocol, and if proven effective, BCA may assist in reducing the global gender disparity in sports participation. Trial registration number: NCT05594524, registered 25th October 2022.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 20, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2023
Publication Date Jul 31, 2023
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2023
Journal BMC public health
Electronic ISSN 1471-2458
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Article Number 1467
Keywords Intervention development, Sports participation, Girls, Adolescent, Cluster randomised controlled trial, Body image, Study protocol
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