Risk attitudes and sun protection behaviour: Can behaviour be altered by using a melanoma genomic risk intervention?

Rachael L. Morton*, Rebecca Asher, Edward Peyton, Anh Tran, Amelia K. Smit, Phyllis N. Butow, Michael G. Kimlin, Suzanne J. Dobbinson, Sarah Wordsworth, Louise Keogh, Anne E. Cust

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)



Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is directly associated with melanoma skin cancer, however reducing sun-exposure can be difficult to achieve at a population level.


Using a genomic risk information behaviour change trial for melanoma prevention, we classified participants as risk-seeking, risk-neutral or risk-averse for domain-specific risk taking (DOSPERT). One-way ANOVA determined the association between socio-demographic characteristics and risk-taking score, and multivariable linear regression ascertained impact of an individual's underlying risk propensity on an objective measure of sun-exposure, standard erythemal dose (SED), at 3-months follow-up. 


 Of 119 participants, mean age 53 years; 50% males, 87% had a personal/family history of cancer; 19% were classified risk-seeking, 57% risk-neutral. The mean risk-taking score was significantly higher in younger participants (≤50 years: 13.86 vs. >50 years: 11.11, p = 0.003); and lower in those with a personal/family history of skin cancer versus without (10.55 vs 13.33, p = 0.009). Risk averse individuals had lower weekly mean SEDs at 3-months than risk neutral and risk seeking individuals (2.56, 5.81, 4.81 respectively, p = 0.01). Risk seekers showed fewer sun protective habits (p < 0.001); and higher intentional tanning, (p = 0.01). At 3-months, risk seekers attained 16%–54% lower SEDs in the genomic information group compared with controls, however this was not significantly different across risk groups (interaction p = 0.13). 


An individual's underlying risk attitude is likely associated with sun-exposure behaviours, and may modify the effect of a genomic risk information behaviour change intervention. Young people and risk seekers may benefit most from being given information on their genetic risk of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk attitudes and sun protection behaviour: Can behaviour be altered by using a melanoma genomic risk intervention?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this