Using UV photoaged photography to better understand Western Australian teenagers' attitudes towards adopting sun-protective behaviors
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Background: This study aimed to determine whether the viewing of a personal photoaged photograph had the capacity to alter Western Australian teenagers' pro-tanning attitudes. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen teenagers. Findings: The teenagers' pro-tanning attitudes prior to viewing their photoaged photograph are encapsulated in the study's central theme: 'You've got to look after your skin and use sunscreen, but I always forget!'. Post-viewing their photoaged facial image many teenagers reiterated their intentions to adopt (when they remembered) skin-protective measures. However, photoaged photography did not alter other teenagers' intention to tan. New knowledge: Teenagers who choose to continue to tan were aware of the long-term health risks associated with ultra-violet over-exposure. However, their desire remained strong to emulate the media promoted image of bronzed youth being popular individuals. Indeed, the social benefits of being considered attractive to their peers became an attitudinal barrier to the teenagers' adoption of skin-protective behaviours. Those teenagers who changed their pro-tanning attitudes following their viewing of their ultra-violet photoaged photograph did so because of the shock they received when they saw their sun-damaged facial image. This suggests that photoageing photography can be effective with many adolescents because it reduces the cause-and-effect delay that exists between the occurrence of sun-damage and its visual presentation in later-life. Conclusion: Greater effort needs to be focused on increasing teenagers' understanding of how sun-damage occurs, when it is appropriate to apply sunscreen, as well as in changing the prevailing media image of an attractive body being a tanned body. © 2016 by De Gruyter.