Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fear, not data, motivates sunscreen users, research shows

02.07.2014

We’re often told that worrying can be harmful to one’s health. But University at Buffalo researchers say that when it comes to preventing skin cancer, a little fear is good for you.

In a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, the UB researchers found that fear and worry about skin cancer had a bigger influence on people’s use of sunscreen than information about the statistical likelihood of developing the disease.


When it comes to using sunscreen, fear of developing skin cancer has a greater influence than information about statistical likelihood of developing the disease, says UB's Marc Kiviniemi. Photo: Douglas Levere

“Most health behavior studies don’t account for the more visceral, emotional reactions that lead people to do risky behaviors, like eat junk food or ignore the protective benefits of sunscreen,” says Marc Kiviniemi, lead researcher and assistant professor of community health and health behavior.

“This study is important because most of what we do in public health communications focuses on spreading knowledge and information. By not addressing emotions, we’re potentially missing a rich influence on behavior when interventions don’t address feelings.”

Kiviniemi’s study analyzed data from a nationwide study conducted by the National Cancer Institute.  Nearly 1,500 randomly selected participants with no personal history of skin cancer were asked about their sunscreen use, and questioned to gauge their perceived risk and worry for getting skin cancer.

Frequency of sunscreen use varied, with 32 percent reporting ‘‘never’’ using it, and 14 percent ‘‘always’’ using it.  Education was associated with increased sunscreen use and men and non-White participants were both less likely to use sunscreen.

In each case, however, worry more directly influenced people’s behavior than informational findings, and increasing degrees of worry were associated with increased sunscreen use.

“Our research looked at the interplay of emotions and facts in decision making– that is, how do cognitive and affective risks jointly work to influence behavior?” says Kiviniemi. “The nature of their interrelation as an influence on behavior has not been examined until this study.”

UB researchers say that affective risk – fear and worry about a health issue, in this case skin cancer – and cognitive risk – the informational component – are both known influences on people’s health behaviors.

However, they are often treated separately or are pitted against one another as “rational” versus “irrational” influences, says Kiviniemi.

“These findings show that clinicians might want to think more about feelings when encouraging people to use sunscreen,” says Kiviniemi. “In addition to providing educational information about risk, encouraging people to consider how they feel about cancer and how worried they are about it might inspire preventive behaviors.”

While ultimately public health professionals can use the results to design better intervention tools, researchers are still a few steps away from understanding how to shape fear so that it is beneficial, rather than paralyzing, adds Kiviniemi.

Kiviniemi will conduct further research to examine the same relationship between risk perception and behavior in other types of health behaviors, such as colonoscopy screening and condom use.

Media Contact Information

Marcene Robinson

Media Relations Assistant

Tel: 716-645-4595

marcener@buffalo.edu

Marcene Robinson | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/07/002.html

Further reports about: Cancer Education Frequency Medicine cognitive colonoscopy screening skin skin cancer steps

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>