Trends in young adults’ sunburn and use of sun-safe behaviours in a high UV outdoor festival environment
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The University of Queensland, Australia
Queensland Health Australia
Griffith University Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1090
Background and Objective:
Queensland, Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. Sunburn remains highly prevalent in adolescents and young adults, who report sub-optimal sun-safe behaviours. School leaver festivals or “schoolies” celebrations are common across Australia to mark graduation from high school. In Queensland, “schoolies” occurs on the Gold Coast with numerous high UVR exposure events (outdoor music concerts, beach activities) with over 16,000 attendees each year. Data on sun-safety at “schoolies” was collected in 2019, 2021 and 2022, with the aim to better understand young people’s use of sun-safe behaviours, sunburn history, and tanning behaviours.

Young people (15+) were invited to complete an online survey at the Schoolies Registration Day in 2019, 2021 and 2022. In 2022, upon completion they were offered a) ‘Schoolies’ bucket hat or b) Cancer Council Australia SPF50+ sunscreen. Participants who complete the baseline survey are asked to complete a follow-up survey (one week later) with questions about sunburn, tanning and sun-safe practices during “schoolies”.

2019 and 2021 response rates were 663 and 826 participants, respectively. There were no observed differences between sun-safe behaviours reported in 2019 and 2021, with low to moderate adherence. Participants reported high sunburn rates in the previous 12 months across both years (89%, 79%, respectively) and two thirds of participants reported attempting to get a tan in both years. In November 2022, 5,500 young people completed the baseline survey, with follow-up data collection due to be completed December 2022 and results will be added to this series.

Young people, when attending an outdoor festival with high UV exposure, fail to practice optimal sun-safe behaviours increasing risk of skin cancer. The addition of 2022 data collection is building our understanding of trends in young people’s use of sun safe behaviours and supports intervention efforts.

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