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Adolescents, Sunburn, Sun Protection, Ultraviolet Photography



  1. Demierre, Marie-France
  2. Maguire-Eisen, Maryellen
  3. O'Connell, Noreen
  4. Sorenson, Kathleen
  5. Berger, Jennifer
  6. Williams, Carol
  7. Cabral, Howard


ABSTRACT: There are no successful sun protection strategies proven to reduce sunburn incidence among adolescents. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of ultraviolet (UV) photographs on motivating adolescents to improve sun protection practices and reduce sunburn rates. We designed an intervention in a community setting and recruited middle school students (aged 11-13 years) from the Northeast. There were 111 students who completed the study, 83 in the intervention school and 28 in the control school. All students received a sun protection lecture. Students in the intervention group received a UV photograph of their face, with detailed explanations of the findings at baseline. Follow-up surveys at 2 and 6 months were obtained. Outcome measures included attitudes and behavior relating to sun protection practices. The impact of specialized photography on teens' sun protection attitudes was assessed by risk status, recent sunburn experience, and possession of UV photographs. In both schools, the rate of sunburn was high, with almost half experiencing one or more summer sunburns. A majority of students in the intervention group kept their UV photographs and found it helpful in assessing their skin cancer risk. Students with many or a lot of facial freckles in the intervention group were significantly less likely to report a sunburn at 2 (p < .004) and 6 months (p < .0004) as compared with students in the control school. The use of UV photographs among teens could help motivate them to protect themselves and limit the number of sunburns.