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N Z Med J. 1992 Oct 14;105(943):401-3.

Adolescence and sun protection.

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  • 1Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin.



to examine adolescents' sun behaviours and use of sun protection measures, attitudes to tanning, and awareness of melanoma, in the light of the Cancer Society's Sun-smart campaign in the summer of 1990-1.


a sample of 345 fourth formers from schools in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch was surveyed regarding their experiences and beliefs about tanning, and their use of sun protection measures including sunblock lotions, hats and clothing; their knowledge of melanoma and risks for melanoma; and their exposure to the educational campaign and its message.


despite relatively high awareness of melanoma as a dangerous form of cancer, a significant proportion of the sample showed high positive attitudes towards tanning and high levels of sun exposure without adequate sun protection. On the positive side, reports of exposure to sources of information about melanoma were correlated with melanoma awareness, which in turn predicted use of sun protection measures.


the findings suggest that campaigns such as those of the Cancer Society have an important role to play in reducing high levels of sun exposure among adolescents. Continued efforts need to be directed at adolescents to increase the acceptability and use of sun protection measures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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