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BMC Public Health;2019 19:206
Background: Norway has one of the highest incidences of melanoma in the world. It has been suggested that the majority of all skin cancers could be prevented by changes related to sun-tanning behaviour. This study explores the sun-tanning behaviour of the Norwegian population using a modified Health Belief Model (HBM). Increased knowledge about beliefs, attitudes and sun-tanning behaviour can provide information which may be useful for future sun protection interventions. Methods: In 2017, 1004 members of the Norwegian population completed cross-sectional online surveys. People who seek the sun for tanning purposes was the eligibility criterion for this study, reducing the study population to 569. With the aid of the constructs from the HBM, predictive factors explaining sun-tanning behaviour were determined using multivariate linear regression adjusted for demographics (gender, age, education and income). Furthermore, the predictor variables, empowerment and benefits of tanning, were added to the model. Results: Five of the constructs in the modified HBM showed significant correlation with sun-tanning behaviour using bivariate analysis. The strongest correlation was perceived barriers of sun protection (0.42), with the next strongest being the benefits of tanning (0.30). The modified model explained 31% of the variation in sun-tanning behaviour using multivariate analysis. Significant predictors from the HBM to sun-tanning behaviour were perceived barriers to sun protection (Beta=0.36, p<0.001) and the severity of melanoma (Beta=−0.20, p<0.001). In addition, empowerment (Beta=0.05, p=0.05) and the benefits of tanning (Beta=0.28, p<0.001) proved to be variables with significant effect on sun-tanning behaviour. The demographic factors age, education and income were also associated with sun-tanning behaviour (p<0.05). Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, several factors in the modified HBM had a significant impact on Norwegians’ sun-tanning behaviour. The results indicate that future sun protection interventions should focus on reducing barriers in relation to sun protection behaviour, as well as emphasizing the severity of adverse tanning behaviour and melanoma. Efforts to alter the perceptions of the beneficial factors of tanning behaviour can also be appropriate in health promotion campaigns and interventions. Finally, implementing empowerment strategies could have a positive effect on promoting healthy sun-tanning behaviour.
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