Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Appearance-based interventions to reduce UV exposure: A systematic review

Persson, S, Benn, Yael, Dhingra, K, Owen, A, Clark-Carter, D and Grogan, Sarah (2018) Appearance-based interventions to reduce UV exposure: A systematic review. British Journal of Health Psychology, 23 (2). pp. 334-351. ISSN 1359-107X

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Purpose: As a majority of skin cancer cases are behaviourally preventable, it is crucial to develop effective strategies to reduce UV exposure. Health-focused interventions have not proved to be sufficiently effective, and it has been suggested that people might be more susceptible to information about the negative effects of the sun on their appearance. Method: This systematic review of 30 separate papers, reporting 33 individual studies published between 2005 and 2017 assesses the overall effectiveness of appearance interventions on participants’ UV exposure and sun protection behaviour. Results: Appearance-based interventions have positive effects on sun exposure and sun protection, immediately after the intervention as well as up to 12 months afterwards. The meta-analysis found a medium effect size on sun protection intentions for interventions which combined UV photography and photoaging information: r+ = .424; k = 3, N =319, CI = .279 - .568, p = .023. Conclusions: We provide a review of current research on the effectiveness of appearance-based interventions to reduce UV exposure. As well as highlighting methodological issues we recommend that practitioners administer a UV photo intervention in combination with photo-aging information to reduce UV exposure. Furthermore, the review specifically recommends that future research focuses on the use of theoretical constructs to enhance photoaging information, and is conducted with older participants and in countries where people have less opportunity for sun exposure.

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