Skin Cancer Prevention: Psychosocial Predictors of Sunscreen Use in University Students

  • Mehdi Mirzaei-Alavijeh
  • Hassan Gharibnavaz
  • Farzad JalilianEmail author


Skin cancer has the most prevention potential among all cancers. Sunscreen use is an effective method in reducing the risk prevalence of skin cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the cognitive determinants of sunscreen use among university students based on the health belief model (HBM). This cross-sectional study was conducted among 301 university students in the west of Iran. Students were randomly selected to participate voluntarily in the study. Participants filled out a self-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 16 using appropriate statistical tests including correlation and logistic regression at 95% significance level. Our results indicated 44.2% of participants reported had always sunscreen use. Among the HBM constructs, cues to action with odds ratio estimate of 1.146 (95% CI 1.061, 1.239) and perceived self-efficacy with odds ratio estimate of 1.131 (95% CI 1.036, 1.234) were the more influential predictors on always sunscreen use. Female students and high levels of mother’s education were significant predictors of sunscreen use. It seems these findings are useful in planning health promotion programs aimed at increasing self-efficacy for sunscreen use.


Self-efficacy Mother’s education Female Behavior change Health education 



This article is a part of a research project supported by the research center for environmental determinants of health in KUMS, Kermanshah, Iran. We would like to thank the research deputy of KUMS for funding this study.


The authors acknowledge and appreciate the funding provided by the KUMS for conducting this study. The funder had no role in designing the study; in collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; or in writing the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval for the research was obtained from the ethical committee of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS) (IR.KUMS.REC.1397.742). The participants were informed about the aim and design of the study. They were told that participation was voluntary and guaranteed that their identities and responses would be kept confidential.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Mirzaei-Alavijeh
    • 1
  • Hassan Gharibnavaz
    • 1
  • Farzad Jalilian
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Social Development & Health Promotion Research Center, Health InstituteKermanshah University of Medical SciencesKermanshahIran

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