A body-image based media literacy intervention for Indian adolescent females
Background and purpose: Body dissatisfaction is a growing concern among young women in urbanIndia. It has been associated with the development of eating symptomatologies, stress and depression. Yet there remains a considerable gap in addressing the body image concerns of the youth. This experimental study involved designing, implementing and assessing theeffectiveness of a brief body-image based media literacy intervention with Indian adolescent females aged 12-14 years.
Method: Forty nine participants from a co-educational school in Delhi were studied. It was hypothesized that the intervention would protect the experimental group from negative outcomes of exposure to idealized media images. The experimental group received a four component module on media literacy and body image. Participants in the control group engaged in a discussion on a neutral topic.State body satisfaction was assessed prior to and after the intervention.
Main findings: Body satisfaction means of the experimental and control group were not significantly different prior to the intervention (t=1.004, p=.161). However a significant difference was seen after the intervention, with the experimental group reporting higher levels of body satisfaction (t=2.39, p=.010). Participants in the experimental group also showed high awareness of the artificial nature of media images.
Conclusion: The study reiterates the need to spread media literacy related to beauty standards among the youth in India. One time exposure to media literacy does initiate critical thinking, although this is only the initial step in combating negative media impacts. Future directions and implications are discussed.