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Adolescent Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (AEDAC) 1

The Adolescent Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (AEDAC) places a

large focus on the development of positive psychological and physical health and

wellbeing in adolescent males. The campaign is designed to positively impact

adolescent males holistically across all levels being individual, relational and

collective to promote sustainable health and wellbeing (Fisher & Sonn, 2008;

Evans & Prilleltensky, 2007). Within the campaign is a range of strategies that

aim to provide the target audience with the flexibility to interact with the

campaign at a degree in which they feel comfortable. Using theoretical

perspectives, the campaign encompasses a diverse variety of techniques that

account for the unique contexts of adolescent boys and promote the

sustainability of positive health and wellbeing throughout their life (Strother,

Lemberg, Stanford & Turbeville, 2012).

Pear Deck Program: AEDAC recognises that whilst it has been found that

the single best predictor of being at risk of an eating disorder is being female, we

mustnt disregard the experiences of males (Striegel-Moore & Bulik, 2007). By

failing to allocate time and effort into comprehensively researching eating

disorders from a males perspectives sends the message that their experiences

are less of a priority, which is in itself a major issue. The educative interactive

presentation tool allows AEDACs aims of both education and awareness on an

individual level to be implemented. Each individual male is impacted by eating

disorders in different ways, and due to the gendered ideals constructed by

society, many males shy away from seeking help or sharing their feelings with

others (Raisanen, & Hunt, 2014). The Pear Deck not only contains an educational

component with simple facts that break down common misconceptions, but also

allows for the audience to anonymously interact by answering questions

Adolescent Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (AEDAC) 2

throughout the presentation. The anonymity of the questionnaire is particularly

effective in that it allows for the group to explore their beliefs and experiences of

eating disorders without the feeling of judgement from others. This in itself

accommodates for adolescent boys fear of appearing weak to their male peers

within the activity as social approval and acceptance is vital in male friendships

(Verstuyf, Van Petegem, Vansteenkiste, Soenens & Boone, 2014).

Evans and Prilleltensky (2007) emphasises that the well-being of one

person is highly influenced and dependent on their relationships with others.

The health promotion strategy encompasses this statement through designing

strategies that focus around the importance of males connecting with their male

peers in social groups, their family and their other support networks. The

process of going into classrooms, sporting facilities and teams, and other male

dominated groups to educate adolescent males on eating disorders, is vital for

the promotion of positive health and well being in boys (Evans and Prilleltensky,

2007). After educating the group and exploring common misconceptions they

may have in regards to eating disorders provides the foundation for exploring

their individual experiences and opinions through a group activity. Social

support and responsibility are vital for the health and well-being of adolescents

as individuals (Prilleltensky & Nelson, 2000) and this supports the focus within

the campaign strategy, on building positive and sustainable relationships

between adolescent males through connecting through emotional acceptance

and honesty. By a strong role model implementing the strategy in already

formed all-male groups, the boys may have already developed relationships

where empathy and vulnerability can be encouraged when discussing topics

such as eating disorders, and environments can be created due to these

Adolescent Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (AEDAC) 3

relationships where the boys feel comfortable to share personal body image

issues (Strother et al., 2012). The pear deck and group activity allow for the

participating group of boys to stay anonymous in their answers and experiences

surrounding the topic of eating disorders to accommodate for adolescent boys

not wishing to appear weak to their male peers within the activities as social

approval and acceptance is vital in adolescent males (Verstuyf et al., 2014).


At a collective level, adolescent males are highly influenced by body ideals

constructed by society and reinforced within powerful institutions, such as the

media. Australian society promotes an appearance valuing society, where males

are pushed to look muscular and females to look thin (Lawler & Nixon, 2011).

This strong influence in society and the focus placed on females with eating

disorders, limits the resources available to males to overcome their own mental

illnesses (Raisanen & Hunt, 2014). This is addressed within the campaign in

multiple elements. The incorporation of state-wide and national Australian

services and resources available for adolescent boys seeking help and assistance

will be located on the one page for easy access. In addition, various brochures

containing information and statistics will be available for anyone to access. The

website aims to overcome these issues at a collective level by allowing all

stakeholders to engage with the information at their own pace and with various

levels of interactivity.


The literature highlights synergy between positive help seeking in young

people and having the freedom to make health choices (Kendal, Kirk, Elvey,

Catchpole & Pryjmachuk, 2017). Embedded within the health campaign is the
Adolescent Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (AEDAC) 4

aim to develop a connectedness between individuals, groups and broader society

through the website being accessible to everyone The online forum environment

has the flexibility to respond to the needs of people at different points on a help-

seeking journal. Particularly for those in recovery, the forum will be a facilitator

of mutual support and encouragement. The online discussion forum will

hopefully provide a safe space for individuals to ventilate their feelings without

having to deal with other peoples reactions (Kendal, Kirk, Elvey, Catchpole &

Pryjmachuk, 2017).

The forum that is available on the website allows for the focus group of

adolescent males, as well as their families, teachers and other individuals, to

connect with each other and also connect with multiple health services, allowing

for the communication of queries, stories, issues, comments and information

surrounding eating disorders. It is creating a communal system to promote

positive and sustainable health and well-being by providing a space for

communication and connectedness, which is highly important in promoting

positive self-esteem and body satisfaction in adolescent males (Prilleltensky, &

Nelson, 2000). Forum users seemed to engage with the friendship, peer support

and mentorship communicated through the messages, to learn about different

kinds of help or how people have coped when help seeking has gone wrong.

They could choose their level of engagement and be non- committal about

accessing support, which for some might be the start of a recovery journey.

This once again allows for the AEDAC aims of education and awareness to be

fulfilled with the individual being able to direct their own journey of learning

whilst being involved in a community of support.