Sun Protection Among Spanish Beachgoers: Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviour

M. C. Cercato, V. Ramazzotti, I. Sperduti, A. Asensio-Pascual, I. Ribes, C. Guillén, E. Nagore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to investigate the level of awareness on the risks related to sun exposure, attitude towards sun protection and sun protection behaviour in Spanish beachgoers. During the summer of 2009, trained assistants conducted a structured interview with 630 sunbathers at the beaches of Valencia, Spain, via administrating a questionnaire including the following: (a) general data (age, gender, education, profession), (b) “knowledge” and “attitude” items and (c) self-assessed sun sensitivity, sun exposure and sun protection characteristics. The health belief model was used to evaluate factors that may influence on engaging healthy behaviour. The median age was 30 (2–82) years; the M/F ratio was 0.60. Despite the widespread regular (“often” or “always”, 80 %) use of high (>15) sun-protective factor sunscreens, current recommendations on sun protection were not regularly followed, and a history of sunburns is very common (70 %). At multivariate analysis, female gender, age, fair hair, freckles, all-day use of sunscreens and wearing sunglasses were independent factors associated with having sunburn history. A high knowledge and a fairly good attitude emerged (median scores, 6/7 and 22/30, respectively). Age class (p = 0.032), educational level (p <0.0001), sunscreen use (p = 0.048) and adequate timing of the first application of sunscreens (p = 0.015) were predictors of awareness, while factors associated with a more favourable attitude were educational level (p <0.0001) and regular use of hats (p = 0.001). Wrong beliefs mainly concern sunscreens (false safety); the attractiveness of a tanned look is the main unfavourable attitude. Physical and motivational barriers are common (80 %). The findings by highlighting constitutional and psychosocial factors involved in unhealthy behaviour provide useful information to promote sun-safe interventions in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Beach
  • Questionnaires
  • Skin cancer prevention
  • Sun exposure
  • Sunburn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Oncology

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