Female university students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards sun exposure and the use of artificial tanning devices: the essence of reducing risky behaviours.

Orla McDaid, V Melby

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Abstract

Aim: To investigate female university students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards sun exposure and the use of artificial tanning devices. Subject and methods: A descriptive correlational survey design using online questionnaires, targeting a population of female university students aged 18–25 from one university in the United Kingdom. Results: Three hundred and thirty-five students participated (response rate = 26.4%). Students demonstrated average knowledge and good attitude to tanning behaviours, but neither were statistically significantly associated with tanning behaviours. Students showed a history of substantial tanning behaviours, including the use of sunbeds, primarily because having a tanned skin made them look good and thus feel better. Conclusion: This study has re-affirmed that there is no simple correlation between individuals’ knowledge and attitudes and subsequent sun-tanning behaviours. Feeling good and looking good are critical attributes to female university students’ self-esteem, and these values and beliefs outweigh risk perception of sun-tanning behaviours, and female university students continue to engage in risky tanning behaviours. Focused health promotion activities by public health authorities and higher education institutions should target students’ principal belief of looking good feeling good, as such targeted health promotion may reduce harmful sun tanning behaviours and ultimately mitigate the rising incidence in skin cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health
Early online date19 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Health promotion
  • Skin cancer
  • Tanning behaviour
  • University students

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