Examining the efficacy of video-based micro-interventions for improving risk and protective factors for disordered eating among young adult women

Melissa J. Atkinson, Phillippa C. Diedrichs

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Brief self-guided activities designed for focused and immediate benefits, termed micro-interventions, have the potential to aid reach and engagement in mental health interventions; however further validation is needed. This study evaluated effects of two micro-interventions for responding to appearance-ideal media on risk and protective factors for disordered eating. Undergraduate women (N=202, Mage=19.90, SD=2.75) were allocated quasi-randomly to one of three 15-min video-based micro-interventions (mindfulness, cognitive dissonance, educational control) in the lab and assessed on state outcomes at baseline and immediate post-test. One week later, trait factors were assessed and participants underwent an appearance-ideal media exposure task. Results showed both mindfulness and dissonance groups reported significant immediate benefits to state appearance-ideal internalisation, perceived sociocultural pressures and related distress, and mood, compared to educational control (Glass’s  effect sizes = .40-.94), but not state weight or appearance satisfaction. At 1-week follow-up, mindfulness and dissonance groups demonstrated improved trait appearance-ideal internalisation ( = .40 and .42), weight and shape concerns ( = .27 [ns] and .44), and body appreciation ( = .39 and .46) compared to the educational control. There were no effects on trait perceived pressures, negative affect, or body image psychological flexibility, and no differential changes in state outcomes from pre- to post-media exposure. Micro-interventions using mindfulness and dissonance techniques show promise for improving some risk and potential protective factors for disordered eating in the immediate and short-term. Further research is required to substantiate their place within the spectrum of eating disorder prevention, early intervention and treatment techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-720
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • body image
  • cognitive dissonance
  • early intervention
  • feeding and eating disorders
  • media exposure
  • microintervention
  • mindfulness
  • prevention
  • protective factors
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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