Enhancing sun safety in young women: The relative impact of format and temporal framing on beliefs and behaviour

Research using AprilAge's visualization software (excess sun module) was conducted to test sun safety beliefs and behaviour among young women (ages 16 - 25) in the UK.  The study was  conducted by Indiana Cheetham and Jane Ogden, University of Surrey, UK, and published in Cogent Psychology on July 7, 2016.   Cogent Psychology is a multidisciplinary, open access journal of peer-reviewed research.


Malignant melanoma (MM) is mainly attributable to UV exposure and research indicates that maladaptive sun safe beliefs and behaviour need to be changed in order to help reduce MM prevalence in the most at-risk subset of the UK population; fair-skinned young women. Sun safety interventions which are personalised and appearance-based have been found effective at improving sun safe beliefs and behaviour. To date, no research has explored whether the effectiveness of these interventions can be improved by varying both their format of presentation and temporal framing. In this experimental study, UK fair-skinned young women (n = 65) aged between 16 and 25 rated their sun safe beliefs and behavioural cognitions after being exposed to personalised appearance-based information which varied in terms of format (text vs visual) and temporal framing (immediate vs future). Their sun safe behaviour was also observed. The visual format used the Aprilage® digital sun ageing programme. The results showed that following the visual format intervention participants had significantly lower perceptions of the skin’s ability to heal, and higher levels of observed sun safe behaviour in the form of taking a sunscreen sample and a sun safety educational leaflet compared to those who received the text intervention. No significant effect of temporal framing was found. The results suggest that a visual, personalised, appearance-based intervention may be an effective form of sun safety promotion for young women in the UK.

Woman shown aging naturally vs. aging with excess lifetiime sun exposure