Formative research for developing targeted skin cancer prevention programs for children in multiethnic Hawaii
Health Education Research
Skin cancer is a significant and increasing public health problem. Improvement in sun protection practices among children holds great promise for prevention, and parents and caregivers play important roles. Health promotion programs are most likely to succeed when based on a systematic planning process including an understanding of current practices, beliefs, social norms and environments. This article describes formative research used to help develop the SunSmart skin cancer prevention program
... prevention program in Hawaii. Group discussions and interviews were conducted with 216 children in grades 1, 2 and 3, 15 parents, and 27 recreation staff. Children's discussion groups took place in intact classrooms. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Multiple raters and an iterative process were used to analyze data from survey forms, observer impressions and audio tapes, and to draw the main conclusions. Sun protection practices in all groups were inconsistent, though general awareness about prevention was widespread. Children reported a reluctance to cover up with long pants and sleeves, and wide-brim hats, and did not understand what skin cancer was. Parents and recreation staff were supportive of education and policy supports, to improve both 155 their own and the children's prevention habits. They were enthusiastic about interactive and creative activities. We conclude that targeted skin cancer prevention messages and strategies for Hawaii's children should promote gradual changes, provide environmental supports, and involve parents and recreation staff. Both the findings and procedures have implications for prevention elsewhere.