Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Clark, PhD, RN, PHN, Chairperson; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN; Ruth A. Bush, PhD, MPH


adolescents, Melanoma, nursing, risk perception, San Diego (California), Skin Cancer, soccer athletes, sunscreen use, Ultraviolet rays, women


Over 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. In adolescent females ages 15-19, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer. The greatest risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet rays from the sun. Research has shown that sunscreen use is protective of all skin cancers, especially melanoma. The purpose of this study was to obtain perceptions about risk of skin cancer and sunscreen use among 13- to 18-year-old adolescent female club soccer athletes as a basis for effective interventions to improve sunscreen use in this population. The Health Belief Model was employed as the theoretical framework. A mailed self-administered questionnaire was used in this cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study of adolescent female soccer athletes in a local San Diego club. A response rate of 33% resulted in a total of 77 participant questionnaires being examined. Demographic information and data were analyzed using descriptive and nonparametric inferential statistics. Study findings suggested that participants had considerable differences in overall perceptions of skin cancer risk and sunscreen use. The Health Belief Model construct that displayed the highest mean score across items was perceived severity while the lowest score related to perceived barriers suggesting that participants perceive the seriousness of skin cancer and perceived few obstacles that would prevent them from using sunscreen. Significant positive correlations were found between sunscreen use before practices and scores on the perceived susceptibility and benefits subscales. Significant positive correlations were also found between sunscreen use before encouragement, and teammate encouragement to use sunscreen. Chi-square analyses on all subscale items and athlete covariates with sunscreen use before practices and games determined six significant statements which can be used clinically in athlete healthcare encounters to assess use of sunscreen before practices and games. The findings of this study validate the need for sunscreen application education for this large, growing adolescent population. Nurses in schools, sports clubs, and primary care settings are in a unique position to develop innovative sun protective education programs and to advocate for youth club sport policies addressing sun protective behaviors.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons