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"Friends don't let friends fat talk": memorable messages and the impact of a narrative sharing and dissonance-based intervention on sorority affiliated peer health educators




Makos, Shana, author
Williams, Elizabeth A., advisor
Crowley, John P., committee member
Long, Marilee, committee member

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Previous peer health education research has demonstrated the benefits of peer health education to program participants and also to universities. However, the impact of peer health education on the peer health educators themselves has not been researched. Thus, the purpose of this study is to first examine the experience of peer health educators and determine how they benefit personally from a narrative sharing and dissonance-based facilitation training. Second, this study aims to identify which types of messages are most memorable to the peer health educators and ascertain the characteristics of those messages, such as their source, context, and content. A "memorable message" is a meaningful unit of communication that affects behavior and guides sense-making processes. To examine these purposes, the author surveyed, observed, and interviewed participants in Colorado State University's training, The Body Project--a dissonance-based body-acceptance program designed to help college-age women resist the pressure to conform to the cultural thin-ideal standard of female beauty. Findings suggest that participants showed increases in their ability to reject the thin ideal and had more positive perceptions of their weight. In addition, participants experienced decreases in self-esteem one month after The Body Project training. Additionally, several themes of memorable messages were found, including messages remembered due to activities and the opportunity for participants to co-create their own meanings and memorable messages as new ways of thinking. These findings shed light on the complicated relationship of peer health education programs, health interventions, and memorable messages on peer health educators' self-esteem and self-efficacy.


2015 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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memorable messages
peer health education
mixed methods
health interventions


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