Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

A school-based body image intervention for young girls: is co-educational or single-sex delivery more effective?

School-based body image interventions for girls have typically been evaluated in single-sex rather than co-educational settings. However, there may be advantages to including boys within classes and it might also be more practical to deliver interventions to co-educational classes. Hence, it is important to examine any difference in outcomes between these two delivery settings. This study evaluated a six-session, co-educational version of the body image intervention, Happy Being Me. Participants were Year 7 girls from 5 schools randomly allocated to receive either the intervention in a single-sex setting (n=74), co-educational setting (n=73) or no intervention control (n=53). Self-report questionnaires assessed body dissatisfaction, internalisation of media ideals, appearance comparisons, self-esteem, and depression at baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up. Improvements were found in body dissatisfaction, internalisation, appearance comparisons, and self-esteem, from baseline to post-intervention in the intervention groups compared with the control group. Intervention effects were maintained for internalisation, appearance comparisons, and self-esteem at 6-month follow-up. Baseline appearance conversations moderated body dissatisfaction outcomes. There were no significant differences in body image outcomes between single-sex or co-educational delivery formats. These findings provide further evidence of the efficacy of Happy Being Me and suggest that this intervention is equally valuable in single-sex or co-educational settings.

This abstract was presented in the Peter Beumont Young Investigator award finalist stream of the 2014 ANZAED Conference.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Candice J Dunstan.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dunstan, C.J., Paxton, S.J., McLean, S.A. et al. A school-based body image intervention for young girls: is co-educational or single-sex delivery more effective?. J Eat Disord 2 (Suppl 1), O1 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: