I am Media Smart is an Australia-wide research trial of Media Smart, an online program to help 13–25-year-olds of any gender who wish to improve their body image. It is suitable for young people across the full range of body image concerns, from those with mild concerns through to those experiencing an eating disorder.
Participation involves completing a survey, being randomly allocated to one of three programs, then completing the survey post-program, six and 12 months later. A $30 gift voucher will be sent to those who complete all surveys as an appreciation for participants’ time.
This new study builds on the award-winning online Media Smart research with women aged 18-25 years-old, where the program was found to: reduce eating disorder (ED) onset by 66% (in those without an ED at baseline) and increase remission rates by 75% (in those with an ED at baseline) relative to controls; reduce the onset of depressive symptoms and thoughts about self-harm; increase quality of life; and lower a further five mental health/eating disorder risk factors.
Thus, the program had both ‘prevention’ and treatment effects, as well as improving a variety of indicators of mental health risk. The findings were so positive that funding has been received to extend the research to a wider audience and to test out differing rates of delivery of Media Smart (weekly vs user chooses own rate).
Study recruitment is open until April 2021. The researchers are aiming to reach as many young people as possible during this time.
How does this intersect with eating disorders?
The previous trial found I am Media Smart resulted in significantly higher symptom remission rates than controls both in those accessing eating disorder treatment and those not. Thus, the program would be well suited to both those in treatment and those on waitlists. Specific information can be found here.
To participate, head to https://mediasmart.flinders.edu.au/