Correlations between reported and measured ultraviolet radiation exposure of mothers and young children

Photochem Photobiol. 2000 Jan;71(1):60-4. doi: 10.1562/0031-8655(2000)071<0060:cbramu>;2.


Cumulative and intermittent sun exposure are risk factors for skin cancer, highlighting the need to monitor exposure during childhood. There is currently very little available information concerning the accuracy of self-reported levels of sun exposure, particularly for very young children. In this study, UV radiation (UVR) exposure measured by polysulfone dosimeters worn on the wrist was compared with a measure of estimated exposure using a diary based on recall at the end of the 4 day study period and ambient dosimetric measures. Results of the study indicate that the relative UVR exposures expressed as a fraction of daily total ambient received during the 4 day period by young children and mothers are similar. A high level of association was obtained for the estimated levels of exposure between young children and their mothers. Moderate correlations were evident for dosimeter readings of mother and child on weekends with no significant association on weekdays. The association between estimated exposure and dosimeter readings was poor and needs improvement. This may be achieved by greater consideration of structural and environmental factors that influence the levels of UVR exposure received by individuals and by increasing the level of specificity in the measurement instruments. Methodological issues such as recall of exposure after several days, quantity of sun exposure and more precise measurement of grades of exposure when outside may have more impact than previously expected, and further information is being sought with a larger sample for exposure during the summer months.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sunlight*