Measures of sun exposure and sun protection practices for behavioral and epidemiologic research

Arch Dermatol. 2008 Feb;144(2):217-22. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2007.46.


Objective: To develop, in a collaborative project, core measures of sun exposure and sun protection habits, since the lack of standard outcome measures hampers comparison of population surveys and interventions used in skin cancer prevention research.

Design: A work group of investigators evaluated available questionnaire measures of sun exposure and protection. Their deliberations led to a proposed set of core questionnaire items for adults, adolescents aged 11 to 17 years, and children 10 years or younger. These core items were used in cognitive testing by the investigators. Cross-site summaries of methods, response samples, and descriptive data were prepared.

Setting: Nine locations across the United States.

Participants: The study population comprised 81 individuals.

Results: No unusual response patterns were detected in any of the respondent groups or for any specific question. Some revisions to the survey items resulted from the need for clarification or emphasis of frames of reference such as adding or underlining key phrases in a question.

Conclusions: The combination of expert review followed by cognitive interviewing yielded standardized core survey items with good clarity and applicability for measuring sun exposure and sun protection behaviors across a broad range of populations. They are appropriate for studies tracking morbidity and/or mortality and evaluating prevention program effects.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference, NIH
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Protection*
  • Research
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires