A psychosocial model of sun protection and sunbathing in young women: the impact of health beliefs, attitudes, norms, and self-efficacy for sun protection

Health Psychol. 2000 Sep;19(5):469-78. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.19.5.469.


A psychosocial model of sun protection and sunbathing as distinct behaviors was developed on 202 young Caucasian women and replicated in an independent sample (n = 207). Proximal outcomes were intention to sun protect and intention to sunbathe; distal outcomes included sun protection and sunbathing behavior measured 5 months later. Objective risk for skin cancer plus 4 classes of psychosocial variables (sun-protective health beliefs, self-efficacy for sun protection, attitudes toward sunbathing, and norms for sunbathing and sun protection) served as predictors. Sun-protective norms and self-efficacy for sun protection predicted only intention to sun protect; sunbathing norms predicted only intention to sunbathe. Susceptibility and advantages of tanning predicted both intention constructs, which, in turn, predicted behavior. These findings distinguish sun protection from sunbathing and provide a basis for intervention design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / psychology
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Sunscreening Agents