Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Health Sciences


College of Health and Human Performance

First Advisor

Michael S. Dunn, PhD


Purpose: This study sought to assess the relationship between attitudes, health beliefs, and societal norms of sun protective behaviors among college students. Methods: Students (n=224) volunteered to participate in an electronic survey through the permission of instructors of an introductory public health class. Results: Those who felt susceptible to skin cancer were more likely to use sunscreen, perform skin checks on themselves, and avoid suntanning. Those who felt there were no barriers for use of sunscreen were more likely to use sunscreen and reapply sunscreen. Those who felt sun tanning was a societal norm were less likely to reapply sunscreen, utilize shade when available, and lay out in the sun. Conclusions: Interventions focused on decreasing sun exposure should keep in mind the influence perceived susceptibility, societal norms, and self-efficacy have on those engaging in sun protective behaviors. Interventions that use the framework of the Health Belief Model might be more effective if the interventions focus on increasing perceived susceptibility and self-efficacy and bringing awareness and educating to combat the societal norms of suntanning.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 04, 2025