Skin Tone Dissatisfaction, Sun Exposure, and Sun Protection in Australian Adolescents

Amanda D. Hutchinson, Ivanka Prichard, Kerry Ettridge, Carlene Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to assess the adoption of sun protection and sun exposure behaviors, the extent to which these behaviors group together, and the relationship between skin tone dissatisfaction and sun-related behaviors in South Australian adolescents (aged 12–17). Methods: A total of 2,875 secondary school students (1,461 male and 1,414 female) completed a questionnaire including questions about sun protection and sun exposure behaviors and skin tone dissatisfaction. Results: Regular adoption of sun protection behaviors was low and ranged from 20 % (wearing protective clothing) to 44 % (sunscreen use). A principal components analysis identified four subgroups of sun-related behaviors: sun protection, appearance enhancement, sun avoidance, and sun exposure. Females had significantly higher skin tone dissatisfaction than males. Skin tone dissatisfaction was associated with decreased sun protection and avoidance and increased appearance enhancement and sun exposure in both males and females. Conclusions: Skin tone dissatisfaction plays an important role in Australian adolescents’ sun-related behavior. Appearance-based interventions may be effective in reducing skin cancer risk through reduced sun exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-442
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 17 Aug 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Appearance
  • Behavior
  • Skin cancer
  • Tanning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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