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The objective of this study was to determine the perceptions of primary school children about sun exposure and skin cancer, and the language they use about these issues, as a basis for the design of health promotional materials. In all, 2857 children in five European countries took part in the study and were compared with 641 Australian children participating in a similar study, since the latter have been exposed to more intensive health education about the sun. The 'draw and write' technique was used. In Europe the level of awareness about the risks of excessive sun exposure and the need to protect the skin was considerably lower than in Australia, although there was some variation within northern Europe. Amongst the European children acknowledging a need to protect the skin, the principal means of protection quoted was the use of suncreams, with inadequate awareness of the value of clothing, hats and shade. European children expressed greater approval of suntans than did the Australian children. Some methodological problems were encountered as a result of nuances in the languages involved, emphasizing difficulties in international research of this type.


Journal article


Melanoma res

Publication Date





428 - 435


Age Factors, Australia, Child, Child, Preschool, Educational Measurement, Europe, Female, Health Education, Health Promotion, Humans, International Cooperation, Language, Male, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Skin Neoplasms, Sunlight