Sun-related behaviour and melanoma awareness among Swedish university students

Eur J Cancer Prev. 1999 Feb;8(1):27-34. doi: 10.1097/00008469-199902000-00004.


The relationship between knowledge, attitude and sun-related behaviour among Swedish students was examined in the present study. A total of 296 of 305 questionnaires, distributed among university students (medical school and economy programme) were analysed (157 men, 139 women, mean age 24 years). The percentage of students sunbathing with the intention of getting a tan was 75%. Thirteen per cent reported having experienced at least one painful sunburn every year and 93% stated at least one burn during the last ten years. The majority of the students had used a sun bed, 12% more than ten times during the last year. Subjects with high frequency of sun bed use also scored high on sunbathing and sunburns. Significantly more women (70%) than men (51%) used sunscreen. The overall knowledge of melanoma was high. No difference in knowledge was found between the high- and low-exposure group. Medical students scored higher on knowledge than economy students, but did not differ in exposure score. Our findings reveal an excessive sun exposure among university students. A high level of knowledge of risk does not lead to a sun-protective behaviour. Future preventative campaigns targeting young people must focus on strategies to change attitudes towards tanning as being healthy and attractive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Students
  • Students, Medical
  • Sunburn / etiology
  • Sunburn / prevention & control
  • Sunlight* / adverse effects
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Sunscreening Agents