Development of an Internet Intervention to Address Behaviors Associated with Skin Cancer Risk among Young Adults

October 19, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster


Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and its incidence is increasing. The major risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV). Young adults tend to expose themselves to large amounts of UV and engage in minimal skin protection, which increases their skin cancer risk. Interventions are needed to address risk behaviors among young adults that may lead to skin cancer. The internet offers a cost-effective way to widely disseminate efficacious interventions. The current paper describes the development of an online skin cancer risk reduction intervention ( for young adults.


The iterative development process for followed best-practice guidelines and included the following activities: individual interviews, focus groups, content development by the expert team, acceptability testing, cognitive interviewing for questionnaires, quality control testing, usability testing, and a pilot randomized controlled trial. Participant acceptability and usability feedback was assessed.

Principal results

The development process produced an evidence-informed intervention that is individually-tailored, interactive, and multimedia in nature based on the Integrative Model of Behavior Prediction, a model for internet interventions, and other best-practice recommendations, expert input, as well as user acceptability and usability feedback gathered before, during, and after development.

Major conclusions

Development of an acceptable intervention intended to have a significant public health impact requires a relatively large investment in time, money, expertise, and ongoing user input. Lessons learned and recommendations are discussed. The comprehensive process used may help prepare others interested in creating similar behavioral health interventions.