Children's skin cancer prevention: a systematic review of parents' psychosocial measures

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Mar;44(3):265-73. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.10.027.


Context: Parents' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs may be influenced through intervention to increase children's sun protection. Little is known about measures of these psychosocial characteristics, including psychometric properties. This paper systematically reviews parents' psychosocial measures in children's skin cancer prevention studies.

Evidence acquisition: A search of standard databases conducted in 2008, updated in 2011, yielded 5797 unique citations. A study was eligible if (1) it was published between January 1980 and March 2011; (2) it was published in English; (3) it reported a psychosocial measure relevant to children's skin cancer prevention; and (4) the psychosocial measure was administered to parents, the majority of whom had children aged ≤12 years. Screening yielded 57 eligible studies. Data were analyzed in 2008 and 2011.

Evidence synthesis: Most studies measured one (n=24) or two (n=18) psychosocial constructs; few (n=7) measured more than three. The most frequently measured constructs were knowledge (n=41); attitudes (n=22); perceived susceptibility/risk (n=11); self-efficacy (n=9); and perceived barriers (n=9). Most studies did not mention theory. Theoretic mechanisms underlying interventions were not examined. There was little description of measure validity. Reliability, usually internal consistency, was reported more often (n=19).

Conclusions: Few studies assessed more than two parent-related psychosocial constructs, so it was not possible to test theoretic models of parental influences on children's sun protection. Validated measures were lacking. There was conceptual overlap of measures because of the presence of analogous constructs across theories and assessment of multiple constructs within a single measure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Efficacy
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Social Environment