Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Sharon Boothe-Kepple, PhD, MSN, FNP-C, PHN (Chickasaw)


Background: Melanoma is the third most common cancer in individuals ages 15 – 29. The greatest risk for melanoma is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Collegiate athletes are exposed to 1,000 more sun hours per year than the average adult, placing them at higher risk for melanoma. Evidence supports sunscreen education and screening to promote protective behaviors in young adults.

Objective: This evidence-based pilot project implements the standardized screening of sunscreen use and sun protective behaviors in women’s soccer players ages 18 to 21 years old at the University of San Diego.

Methods: The Sun Exposure and Protection Index (SEPI), reflecting both UV exposure risk and sun protective behaviors, was administered to female soccer players before and after the intervention period. Athletes were instructed to apply SPF 50 to the face, neck, and chest once daily for 7 days while practicing on the soccer field. Educational materials about sun safety were provided. Principles of the Iowa Model and Health Belief Model guided this pilot project.

Outcomes: Twenty-two athletes participated in this pilot. 86.4% reported using sunscreen 5 or more days during the intervention period. 100% reported sunscreen use 3 or more days during intervention period, compared to 45.4% prior to implementation. The average score on the SEPI Part 2 prior to the pilot was 10. After intervention, there was an average reduction of 1.45 points in SEPI Part 2 scores, representing an increased propensity for sun protection and improved sun protection behaviors. Sun exposure screening should be considered as primary prevention in college athletes, who are at an elevated lifetime risk of ultraviolet radiation exposure. Furthermore, providing sunscreen and educational materials prior to sun exposure may decrease the risk of future melanoma in this high-risk population.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.