Sun-safety behavior among elementary school children: the role of knowledge, social norms, and parental involvement

Psychol Rep. 1999 Jun;84(3 Pt 1):831-6. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1999.84.3.831.


98 children in Grades 4, 5, and 6 were surveyed in 1997 for their knowledge of sunlight's harmful effects, attitude toward and frequency of usage of sun-safety devices, perceived peer pressure against sun-safe behavior, and parental encouragement for practicing sun-safe behavior. Children exhibited low knowledge of harmful effects of sun exposure and perceived the threat as remote. Of the two primary determinants of sunscreen usage, parental reminders and a positive attitude towards sunscreen use, the former was dominant. The knowledge of harmful effects of sun exposure, the primary focus of most interventions, does not appear to be the most critical variable influencing children's sun-safety behavior; parental involvement does.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Heliotherapy / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Safety*
  • Schools
  • Socialization*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires