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How to Improve Adolescents' Sun Protection Behavior? Age and Gender Issues

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Objective : To explore adolescents' self-reported reasons for sun protection, as adolescents as a group continue to have poor sun protection practices.

Methods : Seventeen age- and gender-segregated focus groups were conducted in Australian high schools.

Results : Reasons for using sun protection included personal comfort, appearance, policies, fear of skin cancer, expectations of authority figures, peer actions, and habit. Reasons for not using sun protection included desire for a tan, inconvenience, low perceived risk, and fashion. Age and gender effects were found.

Conclusions : Avenues for intervention with adolescents include authority figures, peer advocacy, the fashion industry, and improved sun protection products.

Keywords: adolescents; barriers; perceptions; skin cancer; sun protection

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.32.4.6

Affiliations: 1 Senior Research Academic, Centre for Health Research & Psycho-oncology (CHeRP), Wallsend NSW, Australia.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.
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