Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Health Promotion Journal of Australia




School of Education




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020

Edith Cowan University Early Career Research Grant (G1004374)


Scott, J. J., Johnston, R., Blane, S., Strickland, M., Darby, J., & Gray, E. (2021). Investigating primary preservice teachers’ ultraviolet radiation awareness and perceived ability to teach sun safety. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 32(S2), 178-184.


Issue addressed

Sun protection practices in Australian primary schools remain inconsistent. Therefore, this study investigates primary PSTs sun protective sun behaviours, ultraviolet (UV) radiation awareness and perceived ability to teach sun safety.


A convenience sample of undergraduate PSTs (N = 275; mean age = 23.13 years) enrolled at one Western Australian university completed an online survey. Descriptive analyses provided features of the data. Factors associated with sun protection behaviours and perceived knowledge and skill to teach sun safety were explored using multivariable logistic regression models.


Lesser than 10% of participants reported using sun protective measures daily (midday shade use: 6.5%; sunscreen: 7.6%; hat: 4.4%). Only 56.3% reported they understand the UV index, with 68.0% rarely/never using it to aid sun protection. Under half the participants reported they felt they had the knowledge (38.5%) or skills (40%) to effectively teach sun safety in primary schools. Regression analysis revealed gender, undergraduate, year and skin sensitivity were not predictors of UV index use (P > .05) or perceived knowledge of sun safety (P > .05). Skin sensitivity was the strongest predictor for shade usage (P = .02), hat usage (P = .05) and perceived skill to teach sun safety (P = .02).


Survey data indicate UV radiation is inconsistently understood by PSTs. Many felt that they did not have the required knowledge or skill to teach sun safety effectively.

So what?

Improving PSTs UV radiation knowledge while at university is a potential opportunity to improve sun safety delivery in primary schools. A targeted intervention for PSTs is warranted



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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