Theater as a behavior change strategy: Qualitative findings from a school-based intervention

Jess Haines, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Bonnie Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study aimed to assess children's opinions about participating in a school-based theater program (Very Important Kids) and to determine their perceptions as to how their participation influenced their weight-related attitudes and behaviors. Focus groups were conducted with 4th through 6th grade students who participated in a theater program where they developed and performed a play about weight-related issues. Participants identified the personal relevance of the play's material, the opportunity to be a role model, and being part of a team as the key aspects that enhanced their enjoyment of the program. Increased resilience to comments from others, positive changes in communication with peers, and improved body satisfaction emerged as the prominent changes students identified as occurring as a result of their participation in the program. Findings suggest that theater is a feasible and possibly effective strategy for use in school-based interventions aimed at the prevention of weight-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalEating disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Grant # 394029.


Dive into the research topics of 'Theater as a behavior change strategy: Qualitative findings from a school-based intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this