Effects of program exposure and engagement with tailored prevention communication on sun protection by young adolescents.

Reynolds, K.D., Buller, D.B., Yaroch A.L., Maloy, J., Geno, C.R., & Cutter, G.R. (2008). Effects of program exposure and engagement with tailored prevention communication on sun protection by young adolescents. Journal of Health Communication, 13, 619-636.

Few family-based interventions to increase sun safe behavior among adolescents have been evaluated. The present study tested an intervention that included tailored and non-tailored print communications delivered by mail to adolescents (age 11 to 15) and their parents who were also participating in an evaluation of an in-school intervention. The use of sunscreen, protective clothing, and avoidance of the sun were promoted, and family communication and environmental change strategies were fostered. Adolescents and their parents were pretested in May of 2002 and post-tested from August to October. Adolescents (N=599) were stratified on experimental condition in the in-school study (in-school intervention vs control) and randomly were assigned from within strata to receive (N=288) or not receive (N=311) the summer intervention materials. No statistically significant effects were found for adolescents between the randomized experimental conditions. Parents’ had increased knowledge (F=5.52, p<.05) and propensity to have their child wear sunglasses (F = 4.07, p < .05). Greater program exposure=engagement led to enhanced sun protection behavior (e.g., fewer sunburns) and psychosocial factors among adolescents and parents. Greater exposure=engagement led to improvements in family interaction and home environment (e.g., shade audit completed). Future research is needed on exposure=engagement with family-based health messaging and on family-based sun safety programs for adolescents. 

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