Testing a theory-based health communication program: A replication of go sun smart in outdoor winter recreation

Peter A. Andersen, David B. Buller, Barbara J. Walkosz, Julie Maloy, Michael D. Scott, Gary R. Cutter, Mark B. Dignan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The epidemic of preventable skin cancer in the United States creates an urgent need for health communication campaigns to improve sun protection. Go Sun Smart (GSS), a theory-driven multichannel health communication campaign showed positive effects on sun safety behaviors of employees and guests in a randomized trial at high-altitude ski areas. In this article we report findings from the North American GSS campaign for guests at ski areas that comprosed the original control-group resorts, replicating the results of the original guest intervention. Results showed that after GSS was deployed, guests at the original control group ski areas increased sun protection and reported greater recall of sun safety messages. Conversely, GSS had no effect on sunburning attitudes or self-efficacy beliefs. Like the original GSS guest intervention, the present study found that greater exposure to GSS messages was associated with greater use of sunscreen, sunscreen lip balm, and face covering, but not gloves or overall sun protection. There was no evidence that GSS decreased sunburning or attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs regarding sun safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-365
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the guests, managers, and employees at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Alta Ski Area, Alyeska Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Aspen Skiing Company, Beaver Creek Resort, Big Mountain Resort, Bogus Basin Mountain Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Deer Valley Resort, Durango Mountain Resort, Heavenly Ski Resort, Homewood Mountain Resort, Keystone Resort, Loveland Ski Area, Vail, Mammoth Mountain, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Rose–Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Powder Mountain Winter Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Snowsport Resort, Ski Santa Fe, Tahoe Donner Association, Taos Ski Valley Resort, Timber-line Lodge Ski Area, Whistler/Blackcomb Mountains, and Winter Park Resort for participating in this project. The authors also extend appreciation to the National Ski Areas Association, National Ski Patrol, Professional Ski Instructors of America, and American Association of Snowboard Instructors for their support. This project was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA81028). The design, conduct of the study, interpretation of the data, and preparation, review, and approval of the article was performed solely by the authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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