Protect your skin and let the fun begin: the results of an intervention to improve NSW primary schools’ implementation of the SunSmart Program

Bradley Wright*, Matthew Winslade, Dean Dudley, Wayne Cotton, Alexander Hamer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Issue addressed
    The SunSmart Policy Support and Intervention Study (SSPSIS) (ACTRN12614000926639) investigated the feasibility of improving schools’ implementation of the SunSmart Program, which is a resource for primary school communities to support their development of a comprehensive sun protection policy.

    A cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) was used to evaluate the SSPSIS, which was conducted in NSW SunSmart schools (n = 20). Objective measurements of students’ sun-safe hat-wearing behaviours and sunscreen application, and teachers’ role-modelling behaviours, were collected for baseline, post-test and follow-up data. Interviews with school community stakeholders, including students (n = 103), parents (n = 31), teachers (n = 11) and executive staff (n = 4), were conducted to inform the intervention design, which was implemented following baseline data collection.

    The results of baseline observations and interviews have been published previously. The intervention design aimed to combat negative perceptions of hat-wearing policy and create a trigger for sunscreen application by rewarding students practising these sun protection behaviours with play-based incentives. Although this intervention had no significant effect on the wearing of sun-safe hats among students or teachers, it did have a large effect on the consumption of sunscreen.

    Associating sunscreen and play-based incentives can create an effective trigger for students’ sunscreen application behaviours. However, further evidence is needed to investigate how students’ and teacher role models’ hat-wearing behaviours could be increased.

    So what?
    While combining a play-based incentive with a trigger for behaviour can promptly increase students’ sunscreen application, it was unable to increase students’ or teacher role models’ hat-wearing behaviours.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)267-271
    Number of pages5
    JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
    Issue number2
    Early online date25 Jan 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


    • community based intervention
    • health behaviours
    • health promoting schools
    • program evaluation
    • sun protection


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