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Dermatology Online Journal

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Sunburn frequency and risk and protective factors: a cross-sectional survey


Skin cancer prevention is at the forefront of public health as morbidity increases. Limited data exists on effective interventions to reduce sunburn frequency and modifiable risk factors. This research aims to determine an association between 1) demographic characteristics and outdoor sunburn frequency, and 2) sunburn frequency and sun-related risk and protective factors in a nationally representative, cross-sectional household survey. Of 23,430 surveys sent, 4,883 respondents reported sunburn-related data. Association between sunburns and demographic, risk, and protective factors were examined. When assessing demographic factors, potential confounding was addressed using multivariable analysis. In multivariable models, younger, non-Hispanic White respondents were more likely to report sunburn. Those with higher income were more likely to report any sunburn, but less likely to sunburn frequently. Females were less likely to report frequent sunburns. Engagement in sporting events, outdoor events, and day-to-day activities during the most recent sunburn was more commonly reported by those with frequent sunburns as compared with those with infrequent sunburns. Sun-protection interventions targeting higher-risk demographics during time spent outdoors, at sporting events, and during other day-to-day activities may be beneficial. Further insight into risk and protective behaviors for those who did not burn could be useful to guide public health interventions.

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