This systematic and meta-analytic review investigated the effects of media health literacy (MHL) interventions in school settings on adolescents' body image.
Twenty one intervention-control comparisons reported in 16 studies were identified. The following attributes were extracted from each study for a systematic review: Study time-period and country location, sample composition, school atmosphere, unit of random assignment, theoretical perspective, intervention-control comparison, co-interventions, number of overall and MHL sessions, length of MHL sessions, and outcomes measured.
The meta-analysis of effect sizes for three outcomes of interest related to body image showed consistent changes in the desired negative direction as expected: body image concerns (g = -0.25, k = 19); eating concerns (g = -0.18, k = 19); thin-internalization attitudes (g = -0.40, k = 12); and combined (g = -0.25, k = 21). Homogeneity analysis for the combined effect size and moderator analyses for gender composition of intervention group, number of overall intervention sessions, number of MHL specific intervention sessions within the overall intervention, and time length of MHL intervention session all showed absence of moderators.
However, all study samples except one were of European origin and so caution should be exercised when generalizing to other cultures that may have different standards of female ideal body type.
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