This study tested the efficacy of an Internet-based prevention program, Trouble on the Tightrope: In Search of Skateboard Sam, on pubertal knowledge, body esteem, and self-esteem. One hundred and ninety participants (mean age 11.6 years) were randomized to either an intervention or attention placebo control condition and were assessed at baseline, after three Internet-based sessions, and at 3-month follow-up. Although the primary hypotheses were not supported, exploratory moderator analyses indicated that the intervention was beneficial for select students. Specifically, pubertal status moderated the effects on weight-related body esteem and several domains of self-esteem, resulting in positive effects for participants in the intervention group who had begun puberty. Gender differences were found on self-esteem subscales, indicating more robust effects for girls than boys. Tailored Internet programs based on personal characteristics such as gender and pubertal status may be a fruitful area for future research with adolescents.
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