Happy Being Me co-educational body image prevention program for adolescents: A critical review of school based prevention programs.
Happy Being Me is a free, school-based co-educational body image prevention program for boys and girls in years seven and eight, offered by Professor Susan Paxton of La Trobe University in the form of an electronic facilitator manual and student activity book. The manual is self-contained and provides information to enable the teacher or facilitator to conduct each interactive session and resources required to deliver the session in the classroom. The overall aim of the program is to reduce body dissatisfaction by helping young adolescents to build an environment where they can feel good about themselves and their bodies, to teach youth how to deal with the social pressures around body image and how they can help others around them feel less pressure to live up to media standards for appearance.
The program consists of six fifty-minute interactive sessions and each session includes both small and large classroom group discussions and activities; such as role-playing and brainstorming. Within these sessions the facilitators’ manual is used in conjunction with the related session materials, including handouts, PowerPoints and references to the student activity book; provided to each participant at the beginning of the program. All activities are explained within the manual with a description, rationale, procedure and take home message, facilitator notes are provided as extra resources to guide the facilitator in administrating the program successfully.
During adolescence experiencing higher levels of body dissatisfaction is common, with approximately 70% of Australian girls and 45% of boys reporting a want to change their body weight or shape (Smolak, 2012). Poor body image during adolescence can have a significant detrimental impact on both psychological and physical health; therefore there is a recognised need for early interventions to reduce the onset of body dissatisfaction amongst youth (Littleton & Ollendick, 2003). Growing evidence supports school-based interventions, due to their ability to reach larger and more diverse groups of young people, as one of the most efficacious methods of promoting positive body image (Bird, Halliwell, Diedrichs & Harcourt, 2013). However, whilst significant developments have been made in the development of effective body image interventions and led to improvements in thin-idealisation and disordered eating, many programs have failed to improve body image (Diedrichs, Atkinson, Steer, Garbett, Rumsey & Halliwell, 2015). The general consensus is that the most effective school-based programs are those that do not focus on adolescents whom have already formed body image concerns, but rather focus on risk factor reduction in pre-adolescents (Bird et al., 2013).
Typical of this consensus is a recent UK study evaluating the effectiveness of an adapted version of the Happy Being Me body...