Testing an extended theory of planned behaviour to predict young people's sun safety in a high risk area


Correspondence should be addressed to Katherine M. White, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 4034, Australia (e-mail: km.white@qut.edu.au).


Objectives The present research examined the sun protection intentions and behaviours of young people in a high risk skin cancer area using an extended theory of planned behaviour (TPB) incorporating additional social influences of group and image norms.

Design The study employed a prospective design to examine young people's sun protection intentions and behaviour.

Method Participants (N = 1,134), aged 12–20 years, were students (school, university, TAFE) and young employees living in Queensland, Australia. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing the TPB predictors (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control) and additional social influences (group norm, image norm) of sun protection intentions. Two weeks later, participants (N = 734) reported their sun protection behaviour for the previous fortnight.

Results Results revealed that the TPB variables of attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control and the additional social influence variable of group norms, but not image norms, emerged as significant predictors of intentions to engage in sun protection. The extended TPB variables accounted for 36% of the variance in intentions. For behaviour, the extended TPB variables accounted for 27% of the variance with both intention and, unexpectedly, group norm as the significant direct predictors of sun protective behaviours.

Conclusions Results of this study provide support for the application of the TPB in the sun safety context and highlight the importance of considering the influence of group norms in the development of future interventions to increase young people's sun protection intentions and behaviour.