Predicting the cognitive correlates of sun protective behaviour : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
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Previous research has explored the cognitive correlates of sun protective behaviour and has found that intention to use skin protection is likely to affect an individuals decision to use such behaviour. Other research has used social cognition models such as the Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict the use of sun protective behaviours with mixed results. The present study examined sun protective behaviour on beaches in New Zealand (n=80) and used a modified version of the Jones, Abraham, Harris, Schulz & Chrispin (1998) model of sun protective behaviour to predict sunscreen use. This modified version of the model contained variables from social cognition models, including the Theory of Planned Behaviour and Stage models of Health Behaviour such as that of Gollwitzer (1993). Knowledge, norms, threat likelihood, perceived threat, self-efficacy and motivation to prevent negative effects of sun exposure together accounted for 36.5% of the variance in intention to use sunscreen. The findings also suggest that motivation to prevent negative effects of sun exposure and threat likelihood consistently have the strongest correlational relationship (of all the prior cognitions) with both intention and sunscreen behaviour. A measure of planning did not mediate the effects of intentions on sunscreen use as was originally expected, rather, intentions had the largest effect on sunscreen use. It is reasonable to assume that planning may not always be necessary for the prediction of sunscreen behaviours. It was concluded that a modified version of the sun protective behaviour model may be useful in predicting such behaviours but refinement is required of the model and its measures. Implications for further research and model modification are noted.
Skin Cancer, Prevention, Attitude (Psychology), Prediction (Psychology)