What do children aged 5 to 11 years old know about the sun and skin cancer? The practical difficulties of international collaborative research when analysis of language is involved.
Newton Bishop JA., Collins M., Hughes BR., Altman DG., Bergman W., Breitbart EW., de Stavola B., Elvers H., Gylling F., Koopman M., Marks R., Martin M., Martin M., Murphy G., Osterlind A., Wetton N.
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.