Body Image Outcomes in a Replication of the ATLAS Program in Australia


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Abstract

The Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) program has been evaluated and widely disseminated among American high school football players. This study is the first independent replication of the program conducted outside of the United States, and in the regular school setting with nonathletes. The research aimed to determine outcomes in real-life settings, thus a quasi-experimental design was used. Participants were N = 211 Grade 10 males (ATLAS intervention n = 119; Waitlist Control n = 92) from two successive Grade 10 cohorts at one Catholic single-sex high school in Melbourne, Australia. The 10, 45-min ATLAS sessions were facilitated over 5 weeks by students’ usual physical education teacher (all were male), and student team leaders delivered intervention material to groups of three to four fellow students in intact classroom groups. Linear mixed models analyses found improvements for ATLAS participants relative to control participants for functional and aesthetic body satisfaction, and attitudes toward substance and supplement use. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, these changes were no longer significant, but effect sizes were small and consistent with change seen in other body image interventions (f2 = 0.034 and f2 = 0.046). Student and teacher feedback about the program also was positive. The small improvements in body image found in this replication support further development of a focus on supplements and steroids as an intervention for adolescent boys.

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