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Randomized controlled trial of an online mother-daughter body image and well-being intervention

Diedrichs, Phillippa C.; Atkinson, Melissa J.; Garbett, Kirsty M.; Williamson, Heidi; Halliwell, Emma; Rumsey, Nichola; Leckie, George; Sibley, Chris G.; Barlow, Fiona Kate

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Melissa J. Atkinson

Heidi Williamson
Associate Professor in Applied Health Research

George Leckie

Chris G. Sibley

Fiona Kate Barlow


© 2016 American Psychological Association. Objective: Poor body image is a public health issue. Mothers are a key influence on adolescent girls' body image. This study evaluated an accessible, scalable, low-intensity internet-based intervention delivered to mothers (Dove Self Esteem Project Website for Parents) on mothers' and their adolescent daughters' body image and psychosocial well-being. Method: British mother-daughter dyads (N = 235) participated in a cluster randomized controlled trial (assessment-only control; mothers viewed the website without structured guidance [website-unstructured]; mothers viewed the website via a tailored pathway [website-tailored]). Dyads completed standardized self-report measures of body image, related risk factors, and psychosocial outcomes at baseline, 2 weeks post-exposure, 6-week, and 12-month follow-up. Results: Dyadic models showed that relative to the control, mothers who viewed the website reported significantly higher self-esteem at post-exposure (website-tailored), higher weight esteem at 6-week follow-up (website-tailored), lower negative affect at 12-month follow-up (website-tailored), engaged in more self-reported conversations with their daughters about body image at post-exposure and 6-week follow-up, and were 3-4.66 times more likely to report seeking additional support for body image issues at post-exposure (website-tailored), 6-week, and 12-month (website-tailored) follow-up. Daughters whose mothers viewed the website had higher self-esteem and reduced negative affect at 6-week follow-up. There were no differences on daughters' body image, and risk factors among mothers or daughters, at post-exposure or follow-up. Tailoring website content appeared beneficial. Conclusions: This intervention offers a promising 'first-step' toward improving psychosocial well-being among mothers and daughters. In order to further optimize the intervention, future research to improve body image-related outcomes and to understand mechanisms for change would be beneficial.


Diedrichs, . P. C., Atkinson, M. J., Garbett, K. M., Williamson, H., Halliwell, E., Rumsey, N., …Barlow, F. K. (2016). Randomized controlled trial of an online mother-daughter body image and well-being intervention. Health Psychology, 35(9), 996-1006.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2016
Journal Health Psychology
Print ISSN 0278-6133
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 9
Pages 996-1006
Keywords body image, self-esteem, intervention, internet, parents, adolescent girls
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


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