“Usually People Just Accept Media and Don’t Talk About It”: The Perceived Value and Enjoyment of Critical Media Literacy in Eating Disorder Treatment

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Despite the growing success of media literacy in eating disorder prevention programs there is a lack of research on the role of media literacy in eating disorder treatment. This pilot study extends previous research through the creation and implementation of the ERA (education recognition-activism) curriculum, which was comprised of four-weekly, 50-minute group sessions where participants in treatment for eating disorders explored the tenets of critical media literacy, reflected on their emotional responses to media, considered how dominant media messages and social forces conflicted with personal goals for a healthy life, and engaged in activism by writing letters to organizations that contributed to or challenged toxic media culture. More specifically, this study explores the perceived value and enjoyment of the ERA curriculum in eating disorder treatment. Participant perception of media literacy as valuable and enjoy able is significant because it has the potential to combat the ambivalence and resistance that is common among individuals in eating disorder treatment and hinders recovery. Overall, the findings suggest that moving beyond prevention initiatives and incorporating critical media literacy into eating disorder treatment may be beneficial to the recovery process.