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Adapting a Skin Cancer Prevention Intervention for Multiethnic Adolescents

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Objective: We tested the effectiveness of a school-based skin cancer prevention intervention entitled "SunSafe in the Middle School Years" adapted for multiethnic high school students. Methods: In Hawai'i, 208 10th graders (51.6% Asian, 30.4% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 8.4% white, 3.5% Hispanic, 2.7% black) participated. Changes in sun protection knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported behaviors were measured using a standardized 18-item survey. The Systematic Observation of Sun Protection Factors (SOSPF) instrument assessed aggregate sun protection behaviors. Results: At posttest, improvements were found in 13 of 18 survey items (p < .05), and retained in 10 items at 12-months following baseline assessments; sun-protection attitudes and intended tanning behavior did not show improvement. Six observers using SOSPF reliably measured students' sun protection behaviors at school including use of hats, sunglasses, long sleeves, lower body coverage, and shade (ICC > .77). Conclusions: We uncovered a lack of knowledge about UVR exposure, tanning, and lifetime skin cancer risk among multiethnic high school students. We found that students' tanning attitudes may be influenced by self-perceptions regarding their own complexion, but were willing to modify their sun protection behaviors once informed about skin cancer risk.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; ASIAN/PACIFIC ISLANDERS; CANCER; PREVENTION; SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI 2: John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 3: Hawaii Department of Health, Honolulu, HI 4: Hawaii Department of Education, Honolulu, HI 5: Hawaii Pathologists' Laboratory, Honolulu, HI

Publication date: 01 March 2018

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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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