Date of Award
Bachelor of Business (Marketing) Honours
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Business and Law
Dr Alicia Stanway
Professor Owen Carter
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and despite the dedicated efforts of preventative campaigns since 1981; this number has increased over the past ten years (Carter & Donovan, 2007). With most skin cancer being attributed to Ultra violet radiation there is a pressing need for proper education, health promotion and preventative means. Previous Western Australian skin UV Index research has yielded findings of moderate awareness. However, there is the association between skin cancer prevalence and the UV Index but a lack of knowledge and application of the UV Index as a means of preventative measures against sun exposure. The Index itself has been broadcasted in Australia across a variety of mediums since 1996. This research project investigated UV Index base knowledge and salience compared to other weather reports and subsequently, how the UV Index can be used as an educational tool to identify risks to prolonged sun exposure. This research project used a mixed methods approach applying both the use of focus groups, and questionnaires within the focus groups, to give a broad pallet of data to collate results and expand discussion from. Research methods utilised, included both unprompted memory recall and prompted recognition. Twenty-six participants made up the sample, separated into four focus groups based on gender and socio-economic status. The results indicated that participants had a low awareness of the UV index compared to other weather measures. Various misconceptions about the UV Index were made including links to ‘burn-time’, fire warnings and a lack of knowledge of its direct application. However as a positive contribution of the study initial lack of awareness and applicable knowledge, the focus groups allowed participants to improve base understanding. Pre and post knowledge survey results showed an average increase from a score of 30% to 68%. These figures highlighted self-improvement in participant’s application of fundamental UV Index concepts. This was also supported by positive feedback about the use of the bell-curve as a tool to display the UV Index. Overall, the findings suggest that with the correct tool, message and application, the UV Index can still be an effective medium. However, its use must be part of a larger effort to improve knowledge and application of preventative behaviours in combating the effects of harmful UV radiation.
Mercovich, D. (2012). Knowledge of the UV index within Western Australia. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/63