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Greater Sun Safety Linked to Acculturation in Latinos

And social network contacts, education level, perceived health status mediate sunscreen use

THURSDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Use of sunscreen, shade, and sun-protective clothing when outdoors on warm, sunny days is associated with acculturation among Latinos in the United States, while perceived health status, educational level, and contact with social networks regarding health matters mediate a positive association between acculturation and sunscreen use, according to a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Valentina A. Andreeva, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues identified and tested the mediators of the relationship between acculturation and sun-safe behaviors among 496 adult Latinos in the United States. Data were taken from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, implemented by the National Cancer Institute. The main outcome measures were the self-reported use of sunscreen, shade, and sun-protective clothing when outdoors on sunny days.

The investigators found that acculturation was positively correlated with sunscreen use, and negatively correlated with the use of sun-protective clothing. These correlations were mediated by educational levels. Increased contact with social networks concerning health matters, and stronger perceived health status were associated with higher sunscreen use only. Health care access was not found to be a mediator for any outcome.

"Our findings emphasize behavior-specific mediated associations and could inform sun safety programming for Latinos with low and high levels of acculturation. The models support educational level, contact with social networks regarding health matters, and perceived health status as mediators primarily for sunscreen use," the authors write.

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