Creating media to counteract the plethora of media and advertising that perpetuates negative body image is a scalable public health strategy that can be achieved through innovative micro-interventions. This study examined the immediate and short-term (one-week follow-up) impact of viewing brief, evidence-informed animated films on young people’s body image, media literacy, and self-efficacy in addressing appearance teasing. The animations were co-created through a partnership among academics, a personal care brand’s social mission, and a children’s television channel. Participants aged 7-14 (N = 1329, 49% girls) were randomised into one of three viewing conditions: Appearance Teasing & Bullying, Media & Celebrities, or a non-appearance-related animation. Contrary to predictions, all three animations were comparably effective at eliciting intervention effects. For girls and boys aged 7-10, all three animations immediately improved state body satisfaction (+boys aged 11-14; Cohen's ds = .60 - .71) and led to sustained improvements in trait media literacy (+girls aged 11-14; ds = .38 - .61), sensitivity to appearance teasing (+boys aged 11-14; ds = .35 - .48), and willingness to ignore appearance teasing (7-10 years only; ds = .34 - .74) at one-week follow-up. Findings indicate that children’s media is an effective medium for developing micro-interventions.
Matheson, E., Lewis-Smith, H., & Diedrichs, P. (2020). The effectiveness of brief animated films as a scalable micro-intervention to improve children’s body image: A randomised controlled trial. Body Image, 35, 142-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.08.015