Aims: To examine change in the self-reported sun protection, knowledge and attitudes to tans amongst fourth form students from 1991 to 1997.
Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to 20 New Zealand secondary schools, where 20 students were randomly selected to participate in each school.
Results: The proportions of adolescents who reported getting sunburnt over summer, and sunbathing for the purpose of tanning increased significantly from 1991 to 1997, while there were decreases in the proportions who reported getting a suntan, wearing clothing for sun protection and having heard of melanoma. There was also some evidence of a decrease in the attribution of positive qualities to a tan.
Conclusions: Some positive changes in attitudes to tanning among New Zealand adolescents were present over the 1991-1997 period. Although these changes are promising there was little change in utilisation of sun protection measures, in fact, there was evidence that this had worsened.