The incidence of skin cancer can be reduced by increasing sun protective behaviours. Based on the Common-Sense Model and the Intervention Mapping approach, a brief intervention targeting illness representations about skin cancer to increase the intention to conduct sun protective behaviours was developed and evaluated regarding its effectiveness.
A randomized pre-post control group design with 509 healthy participants (69% women, mean age 39 years).
Main outcome measures:
Changes in illness representations about skin cancer (emotional representations, illness coherence, and prevention control) and the intention to conduct sun protective behaviours, i.e. UV protection and sun avoidance.
ANCOVAs showed that the intervention increased illness coherence and perceived prevention control as well as the intention to conduct sun protective behaviours. Mediation analyses revealed that the increase in illness coherence and/or perceived prevention control partially mediated the effect of the intervention on the increase of the intention to use UV protection (indirect effects: .02*, .06*) and to avoid sun exposure (indirect effects: .01 ns, .04*).
The intervention was successful in changing illness representations and thereby increasing the intention to conduct sun protective behaviours. The findings provide evidence for the usefulness of the Common-Sense Model in the context of illness prevention.