Dissonance-based eating disorder prevention leads to decreases in risk factors for these disorders. Although controlled trials have demonstrated that targeted, manualized programs reduce eating disorder risk, concerns regarding implementation and dissemination remain. A primary concern is the difficulty in adapting programs for a high school setting for populations at highest risk: adolescents. This paper describes the REbeL Peer Education model and assesses the initial pilot trials of the intervention. The program is novel in that it utilizes a voluntary, self-selection model that is sustainable in a high school setting, and focuses on empowerment and effective cognitive dissonance based prevention activities. High school peer-educators self-selected into the semi-manualized dissonance based intervention. Group activities were peer led, designed to critique the thin ideal, and designed to empower macro (school and larger community wide) changes in The pilot trial (N=47) assess the effectiveness and feasibility of the intervention. Results of the initial pilot study revealed preliminary support for the feasibility of the program, increases in feelings of empowerment, and decreases in eating disorder cognitions and behaviors with moderate to large effect sizes. Feedback from participants indicated that the intervention was enjoyable, educational, and empowering. This study is the first to adapt dissonance-based prevention models to a semi-manualized, peer-led, prevention program integrated into high school settings.
Keywords: Eating disorder prevention; Empowerment; REbeL Peer Education.
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