Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Vida L. Tyc, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patrick J. Aragon, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Kimberly Sloman, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


Sun protection is beneficial for children of color as it decreases the risk for sunburns, hyperpigmentation, and most importantly, skin cancer. Invasive melanoma is commonly seen in children of color due to inadequate sun protection. Parental and caregiver modeling of sun protection behaviors may decrease the likelihood of skin cancer among children of color. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 2011) has suggested that pediatricians adopt the role of informing parents about the benefits of using sun protection products for their young children. They recommended that providers discuss sun protection behaviors with both the parent/child beginning at the age of 9 or 10 years. Similarly, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended that medical providers (i.e., dermatologists and pediatricians) counsel parents about use of sunscreen for their children. This cross-sectional study utilized an online survey targeting parents of color who have children of color < 12 years of age. The objectives of this study were aimed to determine the proportion of parents of color who received pediatric sun exposure education/counseling from pediatric providers and rated themselves satisfied with the information. Additionally, this study examined factors associated with perceptions of skin cancer risk among parents of color and how these influenced their compliance with pediatric sun protection guidelines. Results of this study found that 32.6% of parents of color reported that they received sun protection education/skin cancer risk prevention counseling from their child’s medical provider within the past year. Of the parents who reported receiving information from their provider, the majority rated themselves as satisfied with the information their pediatric provider provided them. Perceptions of the child’s cancer risk and compliance with pediatric sun protection guidelines were not significantly different between parents who received counseling from their child’s provider and those who did not. However, parents’ perceptions of their child’s skin cancer risks were positively related to perceptions of their own risk. Overall, the majority of parents were only partially compliant with sun protection guidelines for their child. The findings from this study will be utilized as a resource for parents and providers. These study results should encourage pediatric providers to provide appropriate interventions and resources to families of color regarding sun protection for themselves and their child.


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