Randomized Controlled Trial of an Online Mother-Daughter Body Image and Well-Being Intervention

Phillippa C. Diedrichs*, Melissa J. Atkinson, Kirsty M. Garbett, Heidi Williamson, Emma Halliwell, Nichola Rumsey, George Leckie, Chris G. Sibley, Fiona Kate Barlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
421 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Poor body image is a public health issue. Mothers are a key influence on adolescents’ body image. This study evaluated an accessible, scalable, low-intensity internet based intervention delivered to mothers (Dove Self-Esteem Project Website for Parents) on mothers’ and their adolescent daughters’ body image and psychosocial well-being.

Methods: British mother-daughter dyads (N=235) participated in a cluster randomized controlled trial [assessment-only control; mothers viewed the website without structured guidance website unstructured); mothers viewed the website via a tailored pathway (website-tailored)]. Dyads completed standardized self-report measures of body image, related risk factors, and psychosocial outcomes at baseline, 2-weeks post-exposure, 6-week and 12-month follow-up.

Results: Dyadic models showed that relative to the control, mothers who viewed the website reported significantly higher self-esteem at post-exposure (website-tailored), higher weight esteem at 6-week follow-up (website-tailored), lower negative affect at 12-month follow-up (website-tailored), engaged in more self-reported conversations with their daughters about body image at post-exposure and 6-week follow-up, and were 3-4.66 times more likely to report seeking additional support for body image issues at post-exposure (website-tailored), 6-week, and 12-month (website-tailored) follow-up. Daughters whose mothers viewed the website had higher self-esteem and reduced negative affect at 6-week follow-up. There were no differences on daughters’ body image, and risk factors among mothers or daughters, at post-exposure or follow-up. Tailoring website content appeared beneficial.

Conclusions: This intervention offers a promising ‘first-step’ towards improving psychosocial well-being among mothers and daughters. In order to further optimise the intervention, future research to improve body image-related outcomes and to understand mechanisms for change would be
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1006
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number9
Early online date12 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • body image
  • self-esteem
  • intervention
  • internet
  • parents
  • adolescent girls


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