Planning for a brighter future: a review of sun protection and barriers to behavioral change in children and adolescents

Author(s): Dadlani C, Orlow SJ


Skin cancer is one of the most preventable groups of malignancies; however, skin cancer incidence continues to rise in the United States. The relationship between skin cancer and ultraviolet (UV) radiation is well known. Many interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to UV radiation have been employed throughout the United States. Studies show an increase in knowledge and awareness regarding sun exposure and skin cancer. Unfortunately, sun protection interventions are slow at effecting behavioral change. In this review, we examine current barriers facing youth today in regards to sun protection practices, appropriate age groups to target for intervention, proposed methods of sun protection, the influence of role models in changing sun protective behavior, the stages of behavioral change, and characteristics and techniques of sun protection programs that can not only increase knowledge but actually elicit changes in sun protection behavior.

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