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Personalised electronic messages to improve sun protection in young adults

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Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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Abstract

The incidence of all skin cancers, including melanoma, continues to rise. It is well known that ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main environmental risk factor for skin cancer, and excessive exposure at a young age increases the risk of developing skin cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the acceptability and feasibility of delivering sun protection messages via electronic media such as short message services (SMS) to people 18-40 years, and explore factors associated with their acceptability. Overall, 80% of participants agreed that they would like to receive some form of sun protection advice; of these, 20% prefer to receive it via SMS and 42% via email. Willingness to receive electronic messages about the UV index was associated with being unsure about whether a suntanned person would look healthy and greater use of sun protection in the past. Careful attention to message framing and timing of message delivery and focus on short-term effects of sun exposure such as sunburn and skin ageing should increase the acceptability of such messages to young people. We conclude that sun protection messages delivered to young adults via electronic media appear feasible and acceptable.

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