261076 Bystander Intervention in Fat Talk Prevention: A Psychometric Evaluation

Monday, October 29, 2012

Robert Buelow, Master of Science , Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Bernice Raveche Garnett, MPH , Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
S. Bryn Austin, ScD , Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
Background: Fat talk, defined as self-disparaging commentary about one's weight or shape, occurs frequently within female peer social groups. Given the social nature of fat talk, opportunities exist for peers to intervene. Approaches geared towards engaging bystanders have been utilized within multiple health fields. Thus, bystander intervention strategies may be adapted for eating disorders prevention, particularly regarding fat talk. This research presents the psychometric properties of a new scale created to assess bystander attitudes and intentions for a pilot evaluation of Fat Talk Free Week (FTFW), a national social media campaign. This scale included two subscales, assessing bystanders' comfort and confidence intervening in a fat talk situation. Methods: Two universities participated in an evaluation of FTFW in fall 2011. Students completed a 15-item fat talk bystander scale at baseline via an online pre-test survey. Data were analyzed using Stata, and the reliability and validity of the bystander scale were assessed. Results: Of the 292 eligible participants in our sample population, 165 (56.5%) completed the survey. Reliability of the bystander scale was moderate to high: Cronbach's alphas of .62 and .86 for bystander comfort and confidence subscales, respectively. Content validity was established using prior literature, and construct validity for the bystander comfort section neared significance when compared to a measure of thin-deal internalization (r=-0.15, p=.058). Discussion: The Fat Talk Bystander Scale is an innovative contribution to the field. Future research should include a comparison scale to further assess validity.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define fat talk and identify examples. Discuss the role of bystanders in preventing fat talk. Design programs focused on engaging bystanders to prevent fat talk.

Keywords: College Students, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a health educator for several years focusing on issues of gender identity, eating disorders, sexism, and violence prevention. I have been involved in several research studies in these areas, including a pilot evaluation of a national social media campaign. My scientific interests include health communication through social marketing and innovative approaches to health promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.