Teaching adolescents about changing bodies: Randomized controlled trial of an Internet puberty education and body dissatisfaction prevention program

Body Image. 2010 Sep;7(4):296-300. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2010.06.003. Epub 2010 Jul 17.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Body Image*
  • Child
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Puberty / psychology*
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Software