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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Nov;61(5):783-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.023. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

Exposure to mass media health information, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors in a United States probability sample.

Author information

  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, New York, New York 10022, USA. hayj@mskcc.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The mass media is increasingly important in shaping a range of health beliefs and behaviors.

OBJECTIVE:

We examined the association among mass media health information exposure (general health, cancer, sun protection information), skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors.

METHODS:

We used a general population national probability sample comprised of 1633 individuals with no skin cancer history (Health Information National Trends Survey, 2005, National Cancer Institute) and examined univariate and multivariate associations among family history of skin cancer, mass media exposure, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection (use of sunscreen, shade seeking, and use of sun-protective clothing).

RESULTS:

Mass media exposure was higher in younger individuals, and among those who were white and more highly educated. More accurate skin cancer beliefs and more adherent sun protection practices were reported by older individuals, and among those who were white and more highly educated. Recent Internet searches for health or sun protection information were associated with sunscreen use.

LIMITATIONS:

Study limitations include the self-report nature of sun protection behaviors and cross-sectional study design.

CONCLUSION:

We identify demographic differences in mass media health exposure, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors that will contribute to planning skin cancer awareness and prevention messaging across diverse population subgroups.

PMID:
19596487
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2854488
Free PMC Article
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