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Simple intervention encourages sun protection behaviors

iors. The students were contacted a month later in a "surprise" telephone follow-up, of which they had not been informed.

"Neither the intervention alone nor the intervention plus sunless tanner use significantly reduced these [previous] already low sunbathing rates" the authors report. "However, the intervention significantly increased use of sun protection during incidental sun exposure." Thirty-seven percent of those who received the sunless tanner reported using it. Sixty one percent of the participants told at least one friend or family member about what they had learned from the study about UV damage and sun protection, while those in the intervention group talked to significantly more friends and family about what they had learned.

"Assuming that future work confirms the efficacy of the intervention using more objective indicators of behavior, this appearance-based intervention can have important practical applications," the authors conclude. "Ultraviolet instant cameras are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and simple to operate. ... In addition, it is likely that the endorsement by a physician or nurse of sunless tanning lotion as a safe and effective alternative to UV exposure would induce more individuals to try it. Based on the trends observed in this experiment with the small percentage of participants who tried the sunless tanning lotion, this might lead to additional sun protection behaviors."


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Contact: Barry Jagoda
858-534-8567
JAMA and Archives Journals
21-Mar-2005


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