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Title: Adolescent males' and females' recognition and help-seeking intentions in response to eating disorders and the effect of a film intervention
Author: Duvall, Ella
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: Eating disorders are most commonly diagnosed in adolescence and when left untreated cause serious psychological and physical harms. Early intervention is most effective at reducing negative outcomes, however there are delays to adolescents recognising a problem and seeking help for eating disorders (Beat, 2017). Aims: The present study aimed to address a gap in the literature by investigating the gender differences in how young adolescents recognise early signs of eating disorders in their peers, and their intentions to seek help for the problem. The study also aimed to investigate whether a brief film intervention that is focused on adolescent males' experiences of body image concerns had a positive impact on problem-recognition and help-seeking intentions. Methods: Participants (N=194, 12-13 years, 57% female) from two secondary schools in the UK completed online measures of their recognition of a mental health problem and help-seeking intentions at three time points: before and immediately after watching the film intervention, and at one-month follow up. Results: Females recognised a mental health problem in a vignette at a higher rate compared to males. Recognition of a mental health problem improved for males and females after the film intervention but more so for males. Help-seeking intentions also improved after the film intervention. However, at one-month follow up much of the gains in recognition and help-seeking intentions were lost. Conclusions: Adolescent males are poorer at recognising and intending to seek help for eating disorders compared to females, but males can catch up with females following a brief film intervention. More investigation is required into whether gender-sensitive interventions can help maximise the effectiveness of interventions particularly toward gender-related mental health inequalities.
Supervisor: John, Mary ; Patton, Bob Sponsor: NHS Surrey & Borders (University of Surrey)
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral