Sun protection practices of beachgoers using a reliable observational measure
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BACKGROUND: Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States and is rising rapidly; however, most skin cancers are preventable. Compared to self-report, direct observational methodologies could be a more valid and reliable tool for assessing sun protective behaviors within a specific environment. PURPOSE: The aim of the study is to assess the sun protection practices of beachgoers using a reliable observational measure. METHODS: A systematic observation system for assessing sun protective behaviors among beachgoers was developed. Data were collected by 2 raters over 3 days using momentary ecological sampling methods. Individuals in a representative zone were assessed for head wear, upper body wear, sunglasses use, shade use, and gender. RESULTS: Over the 3 days, Observers A and B made 1,678 and 1,725 observations, respectively. Interrater reliability ranged from 0.77 to 0.99. Hats, sunglasses, shirts, and shade were all used by less than 30% of the population. Sun protection behaviors varied by time of day and cloud cover. CONCLUSIONS: A reliable, observational measure designed to assess population behavior at the setting level showed low use of sun protection practices among beachgoers. Test-retest reliability, the inclusion of low body protection, coding for age, and skin tone are recommended for future versions of this system.
author list (cited authors)
Maddock, J. E., O’Riordan, D. L., Lunde, K. B., & Steffen, A.