Melanoma and skin cancer: evaluation of a health education programme for secondary schools.
Hughes BR., Altman DG., Newton JA.
The effectiveness of an education package for secondary schools about the sun and skin cancer was assessed using questionnaires. A variety of teaching methods was used, including pamphlets, workbooks, and a video. The effect of this material was assessed by asking pupils to complete questionnaires immediately after receiving the package (July), and after the summer holiday (September). Five-hundred and forty-three children from seven schools were recruited into the study. Results of the questionnaire demonstrated a significant difference in knowledge (P < 0.001) and reported attitude (P < 0.001) compared with a control group. There was no significant difference in behaviour of the taught groups compared with the control group. The only significant activity associated with increased knowledge was wearing a sunscreen (P < 0.005). In contrast, in terms of attitude, those who covered up in the sun (P < 0.0001), wore a sunscreen (P < 0.004), and sat in the shade (P < 0.02), had significantly better attitudes than those who did not behave in this way. This project is a first attempt to assess health education in schools, and reports changes in knowledge, attitudes, and some aspects of behaviour. Adolescents are a group who are difficult to influence, but our study has produced some useful information about how these children respond to such teaching measures.