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Outcomes of a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial of the SoMe Social Media Literacy Program for Improving body Image-Related Outcomes in adolescent Boys and Girls

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posted on 2021-11-19, 00:56 authored by CS Gordon, Hannah JarmanHannah Jarman, Rachel RodgersRachel Rodgers, Sian McLeanSian McLean, A Slater, M Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Susan PaxtonSusan Paxton
Although the negative effect of social media use among youth on body image and eating concerns has been established, few classroom-based resources that can decrease these effects through targeting social media literacy skills have been developed. This study aimed to test the efficacy of SoMe, a social media literacy body image, dieting, and wellbeing program for adolescents, through a cluster randomized controlled trial. Participants (n = 892; Mage = 12.77, SD = 0.74; range 11–15; 49.5% male) were randomized by school (n = 8) to receive either weekly SoMe (n = 483) or control sessions (lessons as usual; n = 409) over 4 weeks in their classroom. Participants completed surveys at four timepoints (baseline, 1-week post-intervention, and 6-and 12-month follow-up) assessing body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, strategies to increase muscles (primary outcomes), self-esteem and depressive symptoms (secondary outcomes), and internalization of appearance ideals and appearance comparison (exploratory outcomes). Modest positive intervention effects were found in dietary restraint and depressive symptoms at 6-month follow-up in girls but few positive effects emerged for boys. The findings provide only preliminary support for a social media literacy intervention, but suggest the usefulness of both identifying those who benefit most from a universally delivered intervention and the need to refine the intervention to maximize intervention effects.


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