270475 Eating Disorders and bystander engagement: A longitudinal study on the impact of "The Thin Line" on high school students

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cathy Plourde, MA , Add Verb Productions, Westbrook College of Health Professions, University of New England, Portland, ME
BACKGROUND: Add Verb, a program of the University of New England, has presented THE THIN LINE to US middle schools, high schools and colleges since 2000. It is a 30-minute play professionally performed by one actor featuring four characters to provide an understanding of the impact of eating disorders on both the individual and family systems. OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE: The play is at the center of a school-based educational program geared to engage bystanders--the friends and family members of those who are ill. The premise of the play, as presented in context of an empowerment/educational call to action, is to provide accurate information and a window into the arc and complexity of this mental illness with the aid of local professionals who have some knowledge and expertise. Increasingly arts and media are used to communicate with youth around this health issue, but there is very little data as to efficacy or likelihood of intervention, and there is a valid concern about making things worse, providing how-to's, or over simplification of what is quite complex. METHODS: With funding from the van Otterloo Family Foundation a longitudinal study follows 9th graders from four schools with pre, post, follow up and focus group data. RESULTS: At the 2012 APHA meeting research and early findings from two years of data will be shared. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: This study informs best practices for theatre as an evidence-based educational tool in the area of eating disorders intervention.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this presentation participants will be able to: 1. describe the longitudinal study of the intervention THE THIN LINE and its early findings. 2. identify steps within the program designed to activate community intervention and the required supports.

Keywords: Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the PIs on this IRB-approved project, and as Program Director and Assistant Professor of Integrated Health Sciences at the University of New England I have presented at national and international conferences about using theatre in health and wellness education.
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.