Much of the information delivery targeted to the teenage demographic and preventing negative outcomes currently centers around the high-stake health risks involved, such as the risks of developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. However, a recent review examining the effectiveness of teenage information delivery shows that appealing to the vanity of teenagers and the potential risks to their appearance may be a better teaching method and motivation for long-lasting behavioral changes.
A study published in the Journal of the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology highlights the effects found at the ColoradoCancerResearchCenter. Over the course of the study, teens were shown one of two videos regarding the use of sunscreen. One video conveyed the risks of developing skin cancer, while the other video outlined the increase in wrinkling and aging.
When the researchers followed up on the teens and their use of sunscreen
, those that had seen the video noting the risks to their appearance were more likely to protect their skin. Alternatively, those that were warned about the risk of skin cancer did not show a significant increase in use. Notably, both sets of teens remembered the information contained in the video.
This study helps to identify alternative methods for disseminating information to teens regarding their behavior and the corresponding potential outcomes. Though the reality of potentially hazardous outcomes may not be easily grasped or internalized, appealing to the teen's current state and concerns may be more effective and more likely to inspire teens to take action, and in this case, use sunscreen.