Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 528–536 | Cite as

To protect or not to protect: examining reasons for sun protection among young women at risk for skin cancer

  • M. V. Auerbach
  • C. J. Heckman
  • S. Darlow


We aimed to further the understanding of the low rates of sun protection in young women at risk for skin cancer. Six-hundred-sixty-one daily diary entries were received via text message over 14 days from 56 young women at moderate to high risk of developing skin cancer. Women reported whether or not they used sun protection and also listed what their reasons were for using protection or not using sun protection each day. Multi-level modeling was used to examine the influence of study variables when predicting daily sun protection or lack of protection. The number of days in which sun protection was reported was positively associated with “habit” and “prevention” as reasons for protection and negatively associated with “not-needed” and “unprepared” as reasons for non-protection. Self-reported sun protection increased over the 14-day study period. Results of this study suggest the potential value of interventions aimed at motives for sun-protection behaviors.


Skin cancer Sun protection Young women Psychosocial Daily diary Multi-level modeling 



The Authors thank the following for their assistance with this project: the staff of, LLC, for creating and managing the text messaging system; the staff of the Office of Health Communications and Health Disparities at Fox Chase Cancer Center for their assistance with participant recruitment; Alexa Steuer and Leon Villavicencio for their work on data coding; Elizabeth Handorf for consultation on data analysis; and, Teja Munshi for her assistance with project management.


This study was supported in part by Grants from T32CA009035 (MA and SD), and P30CA006927 (Cancer Center Support Grant). The study was also supported by the Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Connecticut that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone. The views presented here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Aetna Foundation, its directors, officers, or staff.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

M.V. Auerbach, C.J. Heckman, and S. Darlow declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Prevention and Control ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Population Science, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  4. 4.National Comprehensive Cancer NetworkFort WashingtonUSA

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