This dissertation evaluates the feasibility of two approaches of promoting skin cancer prevention programs in the adolescent and young adult athlete and lifeguard populations. The paper begins by providing the background behind skin cancer risk, prevention and early detection motivators, intentions and behaviors for athletes and lifeguards and describes educational programs used to improve skin protection in these populations. The paper then describes an educational program to be delivered in outdoor pool settings that has components of a body image intervention and an implementation intentions intervention.
Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are articles intended for publication in health education literature. Chapter 2 is an applied paper that examines the risk, barriers and motivators that impact sun protective behaviors among athletes and describes the role that professionals such as coaches, trainers, athletic administrators and sport psychologists have in promoting positive behaviors. The article provides four strategies to guide these professionals in developing a more effective comprehensive skin protection program for athletes.
Chapters 3 and 4 report the results of research on sun protection in the lifeguard community. Chapter 3 is a qualitative description analyzing worksheets completed by lifeguards as part of the implementation intentions intervention component of the educational program. The results revolve around the nature of the barriers identified by the participants and their unique solutions to addressing those barriers. Chapter 4 reports quantitative data surrounding the role of body image as a motivator for sun protective behaviors. The analysis compares how the extended parallel process model constructs of perceived threat of skin cancer and appearance predict sun protective intentions and behaviors in a sample of lifeguards employed in swimming facilities. Results of this study demonstrate that among these lifeguards, appearance motives were stronger predictors of positive health behaviors than health motives.
Finally, Chapter 5 provides implications of this research and future directions for improving sun protection behaviors among adolescent and young adult athletes and lifeguards. Specific recommendations for health educators are provided.