Beliefs, knowledge and attitudes as predictors of sunbathing habits and use of sun protection among Swedish adolescents

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In 1996, a random population sample of 2615 adolescents completed a questionnaire concerning habitual sun-related behaviours, attitudes towards sunbathing, and knowledge about skin cancer. Females, older adolescents, those with less sun-sensitive skin, those with higher knowledge and those with a positive attitude towards sunbathing were more likely to be frequent sunbathers. Younger adolescents, those who today sunbathe moderately, and those with sensitive skin were more likely to believe that they would sunbathe more often in the future. Males, adolescents with less sensitive skin, those with a positive attitude towards sunbathing and those sunbathing often, were less likely to use protection when sunbathing. Interventions to decrease sun exposure among adolescents should focus on changing attitudes toward sunbathing and having a tan, since knowledge of skin cancer and the damaging affect of sunbathing did not seem to effect current sunbathing habits, or use of sun protection.

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