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Journal of Eating Disorders

Open Access

Shape and weight concern as a moderator of program outcomes from the Prevention Across the Spectrum RCT

  • Simon Wilksch1Email author,
  • Tracey Wade1,
  • Susan Paxton2,
  • Susan Byrne3 and
  • S Bryn Austin4, 5
Journal of Eating Disorders20153(Suppl 1):O28

Published: 23 November 2015


Eating DisorderHigh BaselineBody DissatisfactionObesity RiskWeight Concern


To investigate if baseline shape and weight concern moderated outcomes in the Prevention Across the Spectrum trial, a randomised-controlled trial (RCT) of 3 school-based programs aimed at reducing eating disorder and obesity risk factors.


N = 1,316 Grade 7 and 8 girls and boys (M age = 13.21 years) across three Australian states were randomly allocated to: Media Smart; Life Smart; Helping, Encouraging, Listening and Protecting Peers Initiative (HELPP) or control (usual school class). Risk factors were measured at baseline, post-program (5-weeks later), and 6- and 12-month follow-up.


Moderation was indicated by significant interaction effects for group (Media Smart; Life Smart; HELPP; Control) X moderator (high shape and weight concern; low shape and weight concern) X time (post-program; 6-month follow-up; 12-month follow-up), with baseline entered as a covariate. Such effects were found for shape concern, weight concern, eating concern, regular eating, body dissatisfaction, and physical activity. Post-hoc testing found Media Smart participants with high baseline shape and weight concern experienced a reduction in risk at 12-month follow-up for 4 of the 6 variables.


This study shows it is possible for a school-based program to reduce eating disorder risk factors in participants with high baseline risk of an eating disorder.

Authors’ Affiliations

School of Psychology, Flinders University, Australia
School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, Australia
School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Australia
Boston Children's Hospital, Australia
Harvard Medical School & Harvard School of Public Health, Australia


© Wilksch et al. 2015

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.