Patterns and causes of sun exposing and sun protecting behavior

  • Suzanne Dobbinson
  • David J. Hill
Part of the Cancer Prevention — Cancer Causes book series (CPCC, volume 3)


Sun-related behavior increases or decreases exposure of the skin or eyes to solar ultraviolet radiation and may significantly alter skin cancer risk. Sun exposing behavior may be intentional or incidental. Intentional sun-exposing behavior is exposure to the sun with the primary purpose of achieving a biological response, such as a tan [1] usually with limited attention to sun protection and maximal concern for extended exposure. Wearing brief clothing and use of sunscreens with a low sun protection factor (SPF), or no sunscreen, when outdoors characterizes intentional exposure. Incidental sun-exposure occurs as a result of being outdoors without adequate protection whilst pursuing activities not directed exclusively at obtaining a suntan, such as in occupational sun exposure. In contrast, “sun protective behavior” (SPB) minimizes the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It includes employing personal protective aids to minimize skin exposure when outdoors using covering clothing, a sunscreen of SPF ≥ 15, sunglasses, or umbrellas; and, or, seeking shade. People may also reduce exposure through minimizing outdoor activity when UV levels are raised, such as around solar noon, at high altitudes, or latitudes near the equator.

Key words

sun exposure sun protection sunburn skin cancer sun related behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Dobbinson
    • 1
  • David J. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Behavioural Research in CancerThe Cancer Council VictoriaMelbourneAustralia

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