Sun protection behaviors and stages of change for the primary prevention of skin cancers among beachgoers in Southeastern New England
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Sun exposure is the most important avoidable cause of skin cancers. We report characteristics of a representative sample (N=2,324) of beachgoers in Southeastern New England during the summer of 1995. This sample was not employing adequate sun protection behaviors (83% did not often avoid the sun during midday and only 45% often used sunscreen). Important demographic and skin cancer risk factor differences in sun protective behaviors and stages of change for sun protection were found, especially differences based on age, gender, and degree of sun sensitivity. Consistent with previous research, increased age, female gender, and greater sun sensitivity were each independently associated with more sun protective behaviors. These findings underscore the need for interventions targeting high-risk populations, such as those receiving high-intensity sun exposures at the beach.
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