Background: Although skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, it is highly preventable by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation. This descriptive, correlational study describes the ultraviolet protection behaviors and beliefs of young adult dermatology patients.
Methods: Eighty-two dermatology patients aged 18-30 years were recruited from a suburban dermatology clinic in northern Utah. An investigator-developed questionnaire assessed ultraviolet protection stages of change, attitudes, and self-efficacy.
Results: Participants reported that on average they were in the preparation stage, had positive ultraviolet protection attitudes, and felt that it was neither easy nor difficult to use ultraviolet protection measures. Individuals who were older, more educated, had more sun-sensitive skin types, and spent less time outdoors on nonworkdays reported more responsible ultraviolet protection behaviors and beliefs.
Conclusions: The ultraviolet protection beliefs within this sample indicate generally favorable ultraviolet protection attitudes and adequate knowledge of ultraviolet exposure risks. Conversely, this sample reported inadequate and differential use of ultraviolet protection behaviors. Correlations involving demographic and clinical factors reveal that ultraviolet protection behaviors and beliefs are difficult to predict. Additional study findings support the need for continued efforts to promote ultraviolet protection among all young adults.