Toward a precision behavioral medicine approach to addressing high-risk sun exposure: A qualitative analysis

Tammy K. Stump*, Bonnie Spring, Sara Hoffman Marchese, Nabil Alshurafa, June K. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Precision behavioral medicine techniques integrating wearable ultraviolet radiation (UVR) sensors may help individuals avoid sun exposure that places them at-risk for skin cancer. As a preliminary step in our patient-centered process of developing a just-in-time adaptive intervention, this study evaluated reactions and preferences to UVR sensors among melanoma survivors. Materials and Methods: Early stage adult melanoma survivors were recruited for a focus group (n ¼ 11) or 10-day observational study, which included daily wearing a UVR sensor and sun exposure surveys (n ¼ 39). Both the focus group moderator guide and observational study exit interviews included questions on UVR sensing as a potential intervention strategy. These responses were transcribed and coded using an inductive strategy. Results: Most observational study participants (84.6%) said they would find information provided by UVR sensors to be useful to help them learn about how specific conditions (eg, clouds, location) impact sun exposure and provide in-the-moment alerts. Focus group participants expressed enthusiasm for UVR information and identified preferred qualities of a UVR sensor, such as small size and integration with other devices. Participants in both studies indicated concern that UVR feedback may be difficult to interpret and some expressed that a UVR sensor may not be convenient or desirable to wear in daily life. Discussion: Melanoma survivors believe that personalized UVR exposure information could improve their sun protection and want this information delivered in a method that is meaningful and actionable. Conclusion: UVR sensing is a promising component of a precision behavioral medicine strategy to reduce skin cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-553
Number of pages7
JournalJAMIA Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Just-in-time adaptive intervention
  • Mobile health
  • Precision medicine
  • Sun protection
  • Ultraviolet radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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