Development and Evaluation of an Intervention Targeting Eater Prototypes to Improve Eating Behaviour Among Adolescents
1University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd, Department of educational and health psychology
Background: Prototype perception is an important determinant of behaviour. Intervention studies show that prototype information successfully influence behaviour or related constructs. This was found for drinking and unprotected sex. Further, evidence suggests this method to be promising in improving eating behaviour as well. The aim was thus to develop and evaluate a theory- and evidence-based intervention targeting eater prototypes. Methods: An RCT-study was conducted with 108 adolescents. The intervention consisted of specific information on healthy and unhealthy eater prototypes and the initiation of directed social comparison processes. Prototype information was given via Facebook profiles. Social comparison was initiated by asking participants to identify with or contrast from the healthy and unhealthy eater respectively. Results: The intervention was well received and could be carried out as planned. Further, it effectively changed prototype perception and eating behaviour directly and four weeks later. Discussion: The developed intervention proved to be feasible and effective in improving adolescents eating behaviour. It can be provided alone or integrated in larger programmes.