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J Occup Health. 2009;51(5):404-11. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

Outdoor workers' perceptions of the risks of excess sun-exposure.

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  • 1School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Erratum in

  • J Occup Health. 2009;51(6):E2.



To describe the pattern of associations with sunscreen use of sun protection attitudes and knowledge in a large sample of New Zealand outdoor workers. We also examined the relationship between perceived skin type and perceived risk of developing skin cancer.


Outdoor workers from nine occupational groups (n=1,131) completed a questionnaire, which included measures of skin cancer related risk perceptions, knowledge and sunscreen use.


Sunscreen use was associated with perceived prioritization of sun-protection, concern about sun-exposure, knowledge about the effects of sun-exposure and perceived supportive workplace culture. These variables accounted for 37% of the variation in sunscreen use. Maori, younger workers and forestry workers least likely to report sunscreen use and sun-exposure risk perception.


Interventions that strengthen knowledge about risks and values of sun protection are likely to increase sun protection efforts. However, interventions for outdoor workers need to take into account potential socio-demographic, personal and workplace influences are required to prevent the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers within this population group.

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