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The effectiveness of brief animated films as a scalable micro-intervention to improve children’s body image: A randomised controlled trial

Matheson, Emily; Lewis-Smith, Helena; Diedrichs, Phillippa

Authors

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Dr Emily Matheson Emily.Matheson@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Research Fellow (Centre for Appearance Research)



Abstract

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.

Citation

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

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 10, 2020
Publication Date Dec 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 11, 2022
Journal Body Image
Print ISSN 1740-1445
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Pages 142-153
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.08.015
Keywords Micro-interventions, Intervention, Body image, Children, Media, Edutainment
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/6698983