Community perceptions of adequate levels and reasons for skin protection.

Stanton, W.R., Moffatt, J., & Clavarino, A. (2005). Community perceptions of adequate levels and reasons for skin protection. Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 5-15.

In this study the authors addressed whether or not community members use relevant risk factors to determine an appropriate level of skin protection behavior in the prevention of skin cancer. The authors conducted a postal survey with a community sample of 3,600 Queensland residents that they randomly selected from the Commonwealth electoral roll. The predictors of "perceptions of doing enough skin protection" included intrapersonal, social, and attitudinal influences. People protected themselves from the sun primarily out of a desire for future good health and on other occasions did not protect themselves from the sun because they were not out there long enough to get burnt. The predictors of perceptions of doing enough skin protection indicated that participants were aware of relevant risk factors. The main reasons that people protect themselves from the sun suggest that they are acting on many health promotion messages. However, skin cancer prevention programs need to move beyond increasing awareness and knowledge of the disease to providing a supportive environment and enhancing individual skills. Health promotion campaigns could reinforce appropriate risk assessment and shape an individual's decision about how much sun protection is needed.

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