Examination of cognitive variables relevant to sunscreen use

J Behav Med. 1999 Oct;22(5):493-509. doi: 10.1023/a:1018609524523.


The present study is an examination of the underlying psychological variables relevant to a sun-damage preventive behavior, sunscreen use. The focus of the research was to examine cognitive predictors of sunscreen use, utilizing a decision theoretic framework. Two hundred thirty subjects were recruited from psychology classes and administered questionnaires assessing sunscreen behavioral tendencies, attitudes toward sunscreen use, and internal- and external-based cognitions relevant toward sunscreen use. In contrast to previous work that had examined only one or two of these predictor variables in isolation, the present study evaluated the relative impact of these variables on sunscreen use tendencies. The findings revealed evidence of a multivariate model (using structural equation modeling; LISREL VIII) relating perceived need for, perceived efficacy of, perceived consequences of, and social normative influences on sunscreen use. The findings are discussed with respect to improving the effectiveness of short-term education efforts to increase sunscreen use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Skin Aging*
  • Social Conformity
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • United States


  • Sunscreening Agents