Scottish adolescents’ sun-related behaviours, tanning attitudes and associations with skin cancer awareness: a cross-sectional study

Kyle, R.G. and MacMillan, I. and Forbat, L. and Neal, R.D. and O'Carroll, R.E. (2014) Scottish adolescents’ sun-related behaviours, tanning attitudes and associations with skin cancer awareness: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 4. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005137

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Objectives To describe Scottish adolescents� sun-related behaviours and tanning attitudes and assess associations with skin cancer awareness. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting 20 state secondary schools in one Scottish local authority (Glasgow City). Participants 2173 adolescents (females: 50.7%, n=1102) with a mean age of 12.4 (SD=0.55). Outcome measures Sun-related behaviour (suntan, sunbathing, sunburn, sunscreen use, sunbed use), tanning attitudes, skin cancer-related symptom and risk factor awareness. Results Adolescents reported poor sun-related practice: 51% of adolescents reported sunburn the previous summer of whom 38% indicated sunburn on more than one occasion. Skin cancer awareness was low: 45% recognised �change in the appearance of a mole� as a cancer symptom, and 39% agreed that �getting sunburnt more than once as a child� increased cancer risk. 42% and 26% of adolescents, respectively, reported that friends and family held protanning attitudes. Compared with males, females were statistically significantly more likely to: report sunbathing (p<0.001), use of lotions or oil to aid tanning (p=0.009) and sunburn (p<0.001); know that changes in the appearance of a mole was a skin cancer symptom (p=0.036) and sunburn more than once as a child was a skin cancer risk factor (p=0.005); perceive their friends to hold protanning attitudes (p<0.001) and indicate that a tan made them feel better about themselves (p<0.001), more attractive to others (p=0.011) and healthier (p<0.001). Conclusions Scottish adolescents had poor sun protection practice and low skin cancer awareness. Girls adopted riskier sun-related behaviour despite greater awareness of skin cancer-related risk. Urgent action is required to promote positive sun-related behaviour and increase skin cancer awareness among Scottish adolescents. However, further research is needed to inform the development of effective sun-safe interventions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Health and Behavioural Sciences > North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 03:47
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2015 02:58
ISSN: 2044-6055
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/3625
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005137
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
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