(This article was originally published in the British Journal of Health Psychology in December 2017. Authors: S. Persson(1), Y. Benn(1), K. Dhingra(2), D. Clark-Carter(3), A. Owen(3), and S. Grogan(1.)
(1) Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
(2) Leeds Beckett university, UK
(3) Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
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 photoageing information: r+ =.424; k=3, N=319, CI =0.279–0.568, p=.023.
Conclusions. This review provides a current perspective on the effectiveness of
appearance-based interventions to reduce UV exposure, and also highlights methodo- logical issues. It recommends that practitioners administer a UV photo intervention in combination with photoageing information to reduce UV exposure. Furthermore, the review speciﬁcally recommends that future research focuses on the use of theoretical constructs to enhance photoageing information and is conducted with older participants and in countries where people have less opportunity for sun exposure.