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Enhancing UV Photography among Men with Choice-Promoting Information Open Access

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The present study examined the influence of UV photography (seeing an image of one's skin damage) and receiving choice-promoting sun protection information on college men's sun protection cognitions. In particular, the aim of this dissertation was to study whether promoting personal choice (by providing information on sun protection behaviors that emphasizes choices and options) enhanced the impact of UV photography on men's sun protection cognitions. The cognitions assessed in this study were informed by the Prototype Willingness Model: conditional perceived vulnerability to skin cancer and photoaging, attitudes toward sun protection, prototypes of the typical young adult male who does and does not protect his skin from the sun, willingness to engage in sun protection and risk behaviors, and intentions to engage in sun protection behaviors, sun-risk behaviors, and skin examinations. An additional goal of the study was to examine whether the promotion of choice in the context of UV photography would be particularly influential among men who report high levels of conformity to masculine norms. Therefore, masculinity was explored as a moderator of experimental effects on cognitions.Male young adults completed an initial online survey assessing background information, baseline cognitions, and masculinity, before participating in the experimental portion of the study. During the experiment, participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions that varied on two variables: (1) whether or not they received their UV photograph (yes versus no), and (2) the type of sun protection information that they received (no information, information that framed sun protection behaviors as recommendations to follow, or information that framed these behaviors as individual choices to make). Following the experimental manipulations, participants completed a second computer-based survey assessing sun protection cognitions. Results showed several significant main effects of UV photography, thus partially supporting results of prior studies that have found this intervention approach to be effective. Perceptions of choice correlated with several cognitions. However, the information condition manipulation checks, main effects, and interactions with UV photography provided only limited evidence for the hypothesis that receiving choice-promoting information would enhance the impact of UV photography, and no evidence that choice information is an effective standalone intervention. A significant three-way interaction between masculinity, UV photography, and the information conditions revealed a pattern similar to one found in a prior study - that the conditional perceived vulnerability of high masculine men was more affected by the interventions than was the conditional perceived vulnerability of less masculine men. There was a similar UV photography effect among high masculine men on protective prototypes, although additional moderation analyses showed inconsistent patterns. Overall, the results involving the information condition and masculinity were inconsistent; however, they suggest future directions for research on sun protection and risk cognitions, as well as strategies for informing young men about sun protection.

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