Attitudes, subjective norms and perception of behavioural control as predictors of sun-related behaviour in Swedish adults

Prev Med. 2004 Nov;39(5):992-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.04.004.


Background: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the major preventable cause of skin cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the explanatory value of attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control on behaviours related to UV exposure.

Method: A random population-based sample (n = 1752, 18-37 years of age) in the Stockholm County, Sweden, answered a questionnaire with items on sun related behaviours and beliefs. The items concerned issues influenced by the Theory of Planned Behaviour, that is, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the associations between behaviours and beliefs.

Results: Positive attitudes towards being tanned and being in the sun were both strongly associated with time spent in the sun, intentional tanning, sunbed use, going on vacation to a sunny resort, intention to decrease sunbathing and use of protection against the sun. Perceiving sunbathing as risky was associated with using different ways to protect and intending to reduce sun exposure. Having people around oneself who frequently sunbathe was related to intentional tanning and vacations to sunny resorts. Finally, perceived behavioural control was associated with use of sunscreen and use of other ways to protect from the sun among women.

Conclusion: The study identified factors on which primary preventive interventions towards decreasing sun exposure should be focused.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Heliotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / drug therapy
  • Sunburn / epidemiology*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data


  • Sunscreening Agents