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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 4768-4781; doi:10.3390/ijerph110504768

The Impact of Parental Knowledge and Tanning Attitudes on Sun Protection Practice for Young Children in Germany

Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen D-91054, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Received: 27 February 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 28 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
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Abstract

Public health campaigns have improved knowledge on UVR-associated skin cancer risk and increased sun protection awareness. However, tanned skin is still a common beauty ideal. The relationship between knowledge, attitudes and protective behavior is not fully understood yet. A population-based survey was thus performed in the district of Erlangen involving 2,619 parents of 3- to 6-year old children. By means of a self-administered standardized questionnaire parental knowledge about risk factors for skin cancer, their attitudes towards tanning and details of protective measures taken for their children were assessed. The study analyzed specifically the impact of parental tanning attitudes on sun-protective measures for their children while controlling for parental knowledge about skin cancer risk factors. While parental knowledge was significantly (inversely) associated with agreement to the statement “Tanned skin is healthy skin”, this was not the case for “Tanning makes me look better”. Overall, tanning affirmative attitudes were inversely associated with protective measures taken for the children, whereas parental knowledge had a positive impact on sun protection at the beach only. Multivariable analyses provided evidence for an effect of parental attitude on protective behavior independent of parental knowledge. Tanning attitudes and tanned skin as the misguided ideal of beauty need to be addressed in future public health campaigns to enhance the effectiveness of preventive activities in changing sun protective behavior.
Keywords: skin cancer; tanning; primary prevention; sun protection; ultraviolet radiation skin cancer; tanning; primary prevention; sun protection; ultraviolet radiation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gefeller, O.; Li, J.; Uter, W.; Pfahlberg, A.B. The Impact of Parental Knowledge and Tanning Attitudes on Sun Protection Practice for Young Children in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 4768-4781.

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