A Qualitative Exploration of Sun Safety Beliefs Among Australian Adults

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Informed broadly by the theory of planned behaviour, this study used qualitative methodology to understand Australian adults' sun-protective decisions. Forty-two adults participated in focus groups where they discussed behavioural (advantages and disadvantages), normative (important referents), and control (barriers and facilitators) beliefs, as well as potential social influences and images of tanned and non-tanned people. Responses were analysed using the consensual qualitative research approach to determine the dominant themes. Themes of fashion and comfort were prominent, the important role of friends and family in sun safe decision-making was highlighted, as was the availability of sun-protective measures (e.g., in an accessible place or in the environment). Additional themes included the need to model sound sun-protective behaviours to (current and future) children, the emphasis on personal choice and personal responsibility to be sun safe, and the influence of Australian identity and culture on tanning and socially acceptable forms of sun protection. These beliefs can be used to inform interventions and public health campaigns targeting sun safety among Australians, a population with the highest skin cancer incidence in the world.

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