To burn or not to burn: attitudes differ

What’s the difference between those who always slather on sunscreen and those who broil and burn? We’ve all heard messages about skin cancer, age spots and sagging skin, so why do some people always use sunscreen and others don’t give it a thought? We at Motivo consulting wanted to find more about what motivates the regular use of sun screen.

Our study in late 2015 sampled 1,445 people 40 and older representative of the U.S. population. This study was the 10th one we’ve conducted since 1989 on the health of persons 40 and older. So far we’ve surveyed 22,000 persons.

Our study showed that 18% of the 40 and older who always use sunscreen also score higher at a statistically significant level on 4 of our 7 critical health dimensions compared to those who do not. Our dimensions are based on attitudes providing a unique perspective on the why that motivates continual sunscreen use.

Those who always use sunscreen score higher on these four dimensions:

Healthy Lifestyle—see themselves as committed to such things as regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking. Seeks Health-related Information—believe they want to stay informed about health matters. Self-determination—convinced they are in charge of their own health. Getting a Checkup—believe in having regular appointments with their doctor.

For more information on these and our other health dimensions, check out our most recent book, Health Motivations: 7 Dimensions That Shape America’s Health or go to 7 critical health dimensions.

“The attitudes related to sunscreen use,” says Doran J. Levy, Ph.D., the firm’s executive vice president,“ are also the basis of the Morgan-Levy Health Cube, a quick, cost-effective, and reliable way of measuring health-related attitudes. The deep understanding of person’s mindsets provided by our system can result in communications and programs that are more effective because they will be targeted.”

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