Project Body Neutrality: Piloting a digital single-session intervention for adolescent body image and depression

Arielle C. Smith*, Isaac Ahuvia, Sakura Ito, Jessica L. Schleider

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Eating disorders and depression impact youth at alarming rates, yet most adolescents do not access support. Single-session interventions (SSIs) can reach youth in need. This pilot examines the acceptability and utility of a SSI designed to help adolescents improve functionality appreciation (a component of body neutrality) by focusing on valuing one's body based on the functions it performs, regardless of appearance satisfaction. Method: Pre- to post-intervention data were collected, and within-group effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals were computed, to evaluate the immediate effects of the SSI on hopelessness, functionality appreciation, and body dissatisfaction. Patterns of use, demographics, program feedback, and responses from within the SSI were collected. Results: The SSI and all questionnaires were completed by 75 adolescents (ages: 13–17 years, 74.70% White/Caucasian, 48.00% woman/girl) who reported elevated body image and mood problems. Analyses detected significant pre–post improvements in hopelessness (dav = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.35–0.84; dz = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.51–1.02), functionality appreciation (dav = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.46–0.97; dz = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.67–1.21), and body dissatisfaction (dav = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.36–0.86; dz = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.50–1.02). The SSI was rated as highly acceptable, with a mean overall score of 4.34/5 (SD = 0.54). Qualitative feedback suggested adolescents' endorsement of body neutrality concepts, including functionality appreciation, as personally-relevant, helpful targets for intervention. Discussion: This evaluation supports the acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of the Project Body Neutrality SSI for adolescents with body image and mood concerns. Public Significance: Results suggest the acceptability and utility of a digital, self-guided, single-session intervention—Project Body Neutrality—for adolescents experiencing co-occurring depressive symptoms and body image disturbances. Given the intervention's low cost and inherent scalability, it may be positioned to provide support to youth with limited access to traditional care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1554-1569
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume56
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • body dissatisfaction
  • body neutrality
  • online self-help
  • single-session intervention
  • transdiagnostic risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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