Aims. To examine change in the self-reported sun protection, knowledge and
attitudes to tans amongst fourth form students from 1991 to 1997.
Methods. Questionnaires were mailed to 20 New Zealand secondary schools, wh
ere 20 students were randomly selected to participate in each school.
Results. The proportions of adolescents who reported getting sunburnt over
summer, and sunbathing for the purpose of tanning increased significantly f
rom 1991 to 1997, while there were decreases in the proportions who reporte
d getting a suntan, wearing clothing for sun protection and having heard of
melanoma. There was also some evidence of a decrease in the attribution of
positive qualities of a tan.
Conclusions. Some positive changes in attitudes to tanning among New Zealan
d adolescents were present over the 1991-1997 period. Although these change
s are promising there was little change in utilisation of sun protection me
asures, in fact, there was evidence that this has worsened.