September 2007

Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


Although skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, it is highly preventable by reducing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, recent primary prevention efforts have been inadequate in reducing UV exposure in young adults. This randomized controlled trial investigates the feasibility of utilizing a brief motivational enhancement approach to skin cancer prevention counseling in a sample of young adults. Methods The sample consisted of 82 dermatology patients age 18-30. Participants were randomized to either the intervention group (brochure and 5-8 minute motivational enhancement intervention) or control group (brochure only). An investigator developed questionnaire was completed initially in the fall and, 6 months later, in the spring. Results The initial 82 participants reported that they were in the preparation stage, had positive UV protection attitudes, and felt it was neither easy nor difficult to use UV protection measures. Individuals who were older, more educated, had more sun sensitive skin types, and spent less time outdoors on non-work days had more responsible UV protection behaviors and beliefs. For the 76 (93%) participants who completed the follow-up questionnaire, the control and intervention groups did not demonstrate any significant differences in improvement for any of the quantitative outcome measures. In the qualitative responses, several participants reported favorable changes in their UV protection behaviors and beliefs. Conclusion The feasibility of utilizing and researching a motivational enhancement approach to skin cancer prevention was clearly supported. Although the intervention was not found to be effective, this study provides support for the continued investigation of both health care provider counseling and motivational enhancement techniques for skin cancer prevention.




School of Nursing



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