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An investigation into the effectiveness of facial morphing in reducing uv exposure among women and men aged 35 years and older

Persson, Sofia (2018) An investigation into the effectiveness of facial morphing in reducing uv exposure among women and men aged 35 years and older. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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Background: Non-melanoma skin cancer, which is often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, is a growing problem among men and women globally. Interventions highlighting the negative appearance-related consequences of UV exposure appear to be effective in changing behaviour and attitudes relating to UV exposure. Facial morphing is an appearance-related intervention (demonstrating future hypothetical ageing to the face) that has been shown to reduce long-term levels of UV exposure among those younger than 35 years; however, its effectiveness has not been tested with older age groups. Aim: To investigate how those aged 35 years and older react to a facial morphing intervention, and to examine how effective this type of intervention can be in reducing UV exposure long-term, as compared to a health-focused intervention. Method: A mixed-methods approach was used, comprising a systematic review and meta-analysis into the effectiveness of appearance-focused interventions to reduce UV exposure; two qualitative studies examining attitudes to UV exposure and a facial morphing intervention among men and women aged 35 years and older; and a small-scale experimental study assessing the long-term effectiveness of facial morphing in reducing UV exposure in this age group, as compared to a healthfocused intervention. Results: Appearance-focused interventions were associated with a small but positive effect in reducing UV exposure. Qualitative findings indicated that facial morphing increased motivations to reduce UV exposure among both men and women, but the quantitative findings did not find significant improvements in sun protection. However, when facial morphing was combined with implementation intentions, results revealed increased intentions to use sun protection among those who considered proximal consequences more important than distal consequences. Conclusion: This PhD has concluded that facial morphing may need to be adapted to be effective with older age groups, and that implementation intentions may be a useful addition to this type of intervention. The current project has identified a number of relevant moderators that should be further examined in future research.

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