Child Sun Safety: Application of an Integrated Behavior Change Model

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Abstract

Objective: Childhood sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer in later life. Parents of young children play an important role in minimizing childhood sun exposure. The aim of the current study was to identify the motivational, volitional, and implicit antecedents of parents’ sun-protective behaviors based on an Integrated Behavior Change model. Method: Parents (N = 373) of 2- to 5-year-old children self-reported their intentions, attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, autonomous and controlled motivation, action plans, habit, and past behaviors with respect to sun-protective behaviors for their children. Two weeks later (n = 273), the parents self-reported their participation in sun-protective behaviors for their child. Results: Data were analyzed using variance-based structural equation modeling. Results showed significant direct effects of attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and past behavior on intentions, and significant direct effects of autonomous motivation, perceived behavioral control, intentions, action planning, habit, and past behavior on parents’ participation in sun-protective behaviors for their child. There were also significant total indirect effects of autonomous motivation on intentions mediated by attitudes and subjective norm. Conclusions: Current results indicate that parents’ sun-protective behaviors toward their children are a function of motivational (autonomous motivation, intentions), volitional (action planning), and implicit (habit) factors. The findings from the current study provide formative data to inform the development of behavior change interventions to increase parents’ participation in sun-protective behaviors for their children.

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