Mar 14, 2007


GIRLS! is a program that brings junior and senior high
school girls together to advocate responsible advertising and positive body
images of youth by the media. The program was designed to help
participants strengthen their own self-esteem and body image while creating
social change by influencing media and retail outlets. The program is
open to boys, but because the majority of eating disorders are among girls, the
program was designed to focus on girls. This evaluation assesses a
shortened version of the approach. Classes of eighth-graders in a private
school, both boys and girls, were randomly assigned to receive a media literacy
curriculum based on GO GIRLS! or a self-esteem
curriculum based on Everyone’s Different. The media literacy treatment
was found to have several modest impacts post-treatment and
three months later, compared with the control group.


Target population: Adolescent girls

GIRLS! is a project started by Eating Disorders
Awareness and Prevention, Inc. The pilot program took place in
Seattle in 1998.
Retail, advertising, and modeling executives met with the teens to discuss
concerns about body image in media. The curriculum taught the students
about effective letter writing and presentations. They were featured in
various newscasts and newspapers and were able to influence image changes in
various retail stores. Students in GO GIRLS! explore
body image issues, learn about eating disorder prevention, and participate in
an in-depth analysis of advertisers’ and media’s messages on body image.
Participants are able to develop their own healthy body image and help others
through their communications with media. The program was modified for
this study by shortening the number of sessions from nine to five in order to
meet the needs of the study school.

study also included a second treatment group using a self-esteem curriculum
based on a nine-lesson program called Everybody’s Different, which was
shortened to five lessons for this study. The main topics covered by the
Everybody’s Different curriculum include coping with stress, challenging
stereotypes in society, and considering how others affect one’s self-concept.


Wade, T. D., Davidson, S., & O’Dea, J. A. (2003).A preliminary controlled evaluation of a school-based media
literacy program and self-esteem program for reducing eating disorder risk
factors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33, 371-383.

Evaluated population: 86 8th
grade students (53 boys and 33 girls) in a private school.

Methods: This study examines the impact of media literacy and self-esteem programs
on students’ risk factors for eating disorders. Students were randomly
assigned to a no-intervention control group, a shortened version of the GO
GIRLS! media literacy program group, or the Everyone’s
Different self-esteem program group. These interventions took place
during the school day and consisted of five 50-minute sessions. The
control group participated in their normally scheduled class for that
time. The media literacy program was shortened from nine to five
sessions, due to time constraints, and altered to make it more relevant to both
boys and girls. The self-esteem program emphasized cooperative,
interactive and student-centered learning and focused on the message that
everybody is different and to not conform to stereotypes. Students’
eating disorder risk factors (weight concern, shape concern, dietary
restriction), body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem were measured via
questionnaires at pre- and post-intervention and at a 3-month follow-up.

Results: The interventions had few impacts on self-esteem and eating disorder risk
factors. Post-intervention, students in the media literacy group had
lower weight concern compared with the control group. At the 3-month
follow-up, the media literacy group had a more positive view of their ability
to make friends, as opposed to the control group. The authors suggest
that the lack of significant impact in the self-esteem group may have been due
to lack of consultation on program content between the teacher and researchers
for these classes. Also, researchers could not objectively determine
differences in teaching styles as they applied to the curriculum. Another
limitation in this study is the short period of time allotted, which caused the
number of sessions to be reduced from nine to five, the small sample size, and
the use of just one school for the evaluation.



Eating Disorder Awareness and
Prevention, Inc. (EDAP) (1999). GO GIRLS!TM
Seattle: EDAP.

O’Dea, J., & Abraham, S. (2000). Improving
the body image, eating attitudes and behaviors of young male and female
adolescents: A new educational approach that focuses on self-esteem. International
Journal of Eating Disorders, 28
, 43-57.

Wade, T. D., Davidson, S., & O’Dea, J. A. (2003). A preliminary controlled evaluation of a school-based media
literacy program and self-esteem program for reducing eating disorder risk
factors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33, 371-383.

grade, 12th grade, High School, Community or Media Campaign,
Social/Emotional Health and Development, Eating Disorders, Physical Health,
Nutrition, 8th grade, Self-Esteem, Adolescents, Adolescence (12-17), Skills Training, Self Concept, Mental

information last updated 3/14/07