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Prev Med. 1992 Sep;21(5):654-69.

Melanoma prevention: behavioral and nonbehavioral factors in sunburn among an Australian urban population.

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Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, Carlton South, Australia.



To determine the independent contribution of behavioral factors to the occurrence of sunburn, sun protection behavior was assessed over 13 successive summer weekends in a total of 1,655 adults in Melbourne, Australia.


Telephone survey respondents provided detailed accounts of activities engaged in, time spent outside, and hat, clothing, and sunscreen coverage in the 4 hr around the solar midday on both weekend days, as well as skin type, sociodemographic descriptors, and degree of sunburn experienced. Independent measures of atmospheric temperature and ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR) were added to individual records.


The (mostly recreational) weekend sunburn in this urban sample was strongly associated with UVR, as expected. Temperature at 3 PM, sensitive skin type, youthfulness, and being male were also independently associated with sunburn. After all other predictors were controlled for, the body exposure index (which took into account time outside and hat, clothing, and sunscreen coverage) made a strong independent contribution to the explanation of sunburn (P < 0.001).


It was concluded that behavior change strategies to prevent malignant melanoma of the skin are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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