Association of Sun Safety Behaviors and Barriers with Sunburn History in College Students in a Region with High UV Exposure

Dylan T. Miller, Zoe Baccam, Robin B. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over five million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States with melanoma the third most common cancer in young adults. While publications have shown that sunburns increase the risk of developing melanoma throughout the lifetime including in adolescence and adulthood showing the importance of altering sun exposing behaviors throughout the lifetime, use of sun protection in college students remails low. In Fall 2019, an online survey of undergraduate students living on campus at a large southwestern university was conducted to determine the frequency of recent sunburns as well as sun protective behaviors and perceived knowledge of and barriers to sun protection. Associations between knowledge, behaviors, and barriers with self-reported sunburn were evaluated using logistic regression. Over 46% of 458 students reported at least one sunburn in the past three months and 21% reported having multiple sunburns in that period. Furthermore, 53% reported that they intentionally tanned their skin outdoors occasionally or more frequently, while 6.4% reported using an indoor tanning bed occasionally or more. Adjusted for skin sensitivity, recent sunburn history was associated with higher tanning activity scores and with high agreement that tanning was attractive (p < 0.01). This information can inform a more targeted series of intervention programming on the university campus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9671-9680
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • cancer prevention
  • risk factors
  • skin cancer
  • ultraviolet radiation (UVR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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