Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Impact of a School-Based Disordered Eating Prevention Program in Adolescent Girls: General and Specific Effects Depending on Adherence to the Interactive Activities

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Impact of a School-Based Disordered Eating Prevention Program in Adolescent Girls: General and Specific Effects Depending on Adherence to the Interactive Activities

Article excerpt

This study assessed the impact of a school-based program aimed at preventing disordered eating. The program was based on the media-literacy approach and has interactive format. The program was assessed under strong methodological conditions. Seven schools with 263 Spanish adolescent girls in the area of Barcelona, were randomly assigned to either the complete prevention program condition, the partial program condition or the non-treatment control condition, and assessed at pre, post and 6-month follow-up. The program was effective in generating positive changes at follow-up. The effects sizes (ESd = 0.29 to ESd = 0.38) were greater, on average, than that obtained up to now in selective-universal programs, and similar or greater than that achieved by targeted prevention programs. The results indicate a greater and relevant effect size of the intervention in those participants who completed the inter-session interactive activities (ESd = 0.29 to ESd = 0.45) although the differences were not significant. These results suggest the importance of monitoring adherence to the activities in all programs defined as "interactive". The implications and limitations of this study are discussed.

Keywords: disorders eating, thinness ideal, adolescent girls, school-based program.

Este estudio evaluó el impacto de un programa basado en la escuela dirigido a prevenir las alteraciones del comportamiento alimentario. El programa se fundamentó en la perspectiva de alfabetización en medios de comunicación, tiene un formato interactivo y fue evaluado mediante rigurosas condiciones metodológicas. La muestra del estudio estaba constituida por 263 chicas adolescentes procedentes de siete escuelas del área geográfica de Barcelona, que fueron asignadas aleatoriamente a la condición de programa completo, a la condición de programa parcial o a la condición de grupo control sin tratamiento. La evaluación se realizó en tres momentos: pre, post y seis meses de seguimiento. El programa se ha mostrado eficaz produciendo cambios favorables en el seguimiento. Los tamaños del efecto (ESd = 0.29 a ESd = 0.38), en promedio, son superiores a los obtenidos por programas universal-selectivos, y similares o superiores a los obtenidos por programas de prevención dirigida. Los resultados indican un mayor tamaño del efecto de la intervención en los participantes que completaron las actividades interactivas entre sesiones (ESd = 0.29 a ESd = 0.45), aunque las diferencias no fueron estadísticamente significativas. Estos resultados sugieren la importancia de monitorizar la adhesión a las actividades en los programas definidos como "interactivos". Se discuten las implicaciones y las limitaciones de este estudio.

Palabras clave: alteraciones alimentarias, ideal de delgadez, chicas adolescentes, programas basados en la escuela.

The prevalence of disordered eating has increased in the past two decades, particularly among females. In Spain, using DSM-IV criteria, including eating disorders not other specified (EDNOS), prevalence rate of eating disorders (EDs) is around 4.1% - 6.41% in females from ages 12 to 21 (Grupo de Trabajo de la Guía de Práctica Clínica sobre Trastornos de la Conducta Alimentaria, 2009; Peláez Fernandez, Labrador, & Raich, 2007; Rojo et al., 2003). EDs are serious mental disorders, with a clear chronic tendency and high comorbidity with other mental disorders, highly resistant to treatment and associated with adverse medical conditions (Agras, 2001; Fairburn, Cooper, Doll, Norman, & O'Connor, 2000; Lewinsohn, Striegel- Moore, & Seeley, 2000). In fact, EDs are the third most prevalent chronic illness in adolescent girls after obesity and asthma (Chamay-Weber, Narring, & Michaud, 2005), and are associated with some of the highest mortality rates for any psychological disorder (Newman et al., 1996). In addition, high proportions of adolescent girls display body dissatisfaction, weight and food concerns, unhealthy dieting practices and behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting and smoking, while smaller numbers engage in extreme unhealthy weight-control practices, such as self-induced vomiting and the use of diet pills or laxatives (Neumark- Sztainer, Wall, Story, & Perry, 2003). …

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