Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2003


Published in Health Psychology 2003, Vol. 22, No. 4, 429-433. Copyright 2003. Used by permission.


Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers in the United States. Although avoiding sun exposure and using sun protection reduces skin cancer risk, rates of such behaviors are moderate at best. The present study examined the impact of a multicomponent intervention that aimed to increase the saliency of skin cancer risk while promoting the use of sun protection. Midwestern beachgoers (n = 100) participated in an intervention or questionnaire-only control group. Sun protection, stage of change, and sun exposure were measured at baseline and 2-month follow-up. The intervention group significantly improved in sun protection use and stage of change, but not sun exposure, compared with the control group. Personalizing the risks of unprotected sun exposure combined with providing education about sun protection facilitated healthy changes in behavior and motivation.