Family Attitudes and Communication about Sun Protection

Family Attitudes and Communication about Sun Protection

Young melanoma survivors and their families are at increased risk for developing melanoma, yet do not often practice sun protection for skin cancer prevention. Currently, little is known about the role of family interaction in sun protection.

Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. David Buller, was one of several authors on a recent paper on family attitudes and communication about sun protection among young melanoma skin cancer survivors and their family members e-published in the Journal of Health Communication. The research team was led by Dr. Sharon Manne from the Department of Medicine, Behavioral Sciences Section at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The research team set out to “examine correspondence between survivors and family sun protection, individual attitudes, and family attitudes and communication about risk-reducing behaviors, and evaluate the mediating role of family attitudes and communication in the association between individual sun protection attitudes and behavior.” Participants completed questionnaires about their individual attitudes, family attitudes and communication, and sun protection behaviors.  

Analyses showed that families had varying levels of shared attitudes and behaviors. Family discussion was associated with higher sun protection for both men and women. Other findings differed for men vs. women and cancer survivors vs. family members. Full descriptions of the measures, methods, results, and conclusions can be found in the publication. Overall, the authors believe that family-focused interventions may prove effective because families’ attitudes and practices correspond with each other.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Sharon Manne, Principal Investigator). Other authors on the publication include Dr. Deborah Kashy from Michigan State University; Dr. Sherry Pagoto from the University of Connecticut; Dr. Susan Peterson from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Carolyn Heckman, Joseph Gallo, Dr. Adam Berger, Alexandria Kulik, Sara Frederick, and Morgan Pesanelli from the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel.

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