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The impact of an educational intervention to protect women against the influence of media images

Jane Ogden (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Lauren Smith (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Helen Nolan (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Rachel Moroney (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Hannah Lynch (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 30 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Media images of unrealistic beauty have been identified as a determinant of women's body dissatisfaction. This experimental study aims to explore whether the negative impact of such images could be reduced by a one‐time educational intervention consisting of a presentation and discussion, teaching women to be critical of media images.

Design/methodology/approach

Female psychology students (n=176) from a university in the UK were randomly assigned to the control or intervention group and completed measures of body dissatisfaction after being challenged by images of the perfect female body. Follow up data were collected four weeks later.

Findings

The results suggested that the intervention had no immediate buffering effect on body dissatisfaction but participants in the intervention group showed a long‐term improvement for confidence, attractiveness and body‐parts dissatisfaction.

Practical implications

This one‐time intervention could be used to protect young women against the detrimental impact of media images in the longer term.

Originality/value

This study provides an evidence base for the use of an educational intervention for young people in schools and colleges.

Keywords

Citation

Ogden, J., Smith, L., Nolan, H., Moroney, R. and Lynch, H. (2011), "The impact of an educational intervention to protect women against the influence of media images", Health Education, Vol. 111 No. 5, pp. 412-424. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654281111161239

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited