UK postal delivery workers’ occupational sun safety: using behavior change theories to identify intervention pathways

Jonathan Houdmont, Raymond Randall, Alistair Cheyne, Shaun Davis, Hannah Evans, Joanne Faichney

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Postal delivery workers have substantial sun exposure. In the United Kingdom (UK) a high proportion of workers possesses a sun sensitive skin type. This population is at elevated risk for skin cancer, yet uptake of sun safety practices is low. Studies are needed to identify the underlying factors that contribute to the uptake of occupational sun safety practices that may be targeted during behavior change interventions. This study integrated the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and the Transtheoretical Model’s stages of change (SoC) as guiding frameworks to identify underlying beliefs that influence UK postal delivery workers’ uptake of occupational sun safety practices. Thirty-four workers participated in semi-structured interviews that used the SoC to establish current receptiveness to and adoption of two sun safety practices (using sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30 on exposed skin and wearing a wide-brimmed hat when working outdoors in the summer). Beliefs underlying current practices were elicited in accordance with the TPB and stratified by the SoC. For sunscreen use and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, 64% and 3% of participants were in the action or maintenance SoC, respectively. Behavioral and control beliefs differed by SoC, with those in the earlier stages more likely than those in the latter stages to report negative attitudes to, and difficulty enacting, sun safety practices. Normative beliefs concerning the views of colleagues and employers towards sunscreen were relatively consistent across the SoC. This study highlights the need for tailored and targeted behavior change interventions. The SoC-stratified accounts of the influence of TPB components on behavior provide a basis for bespoke interventions that reflect inter-individual and inter-practice differences in their working mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3712
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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