Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Australia. Skin cancer prevention programs aim to reduce sun exposure and increase sun protection behaviors. Effectiveness is usually assessed through self-report.
It was the aim of this study to test the acceptance and validity of a newly developed ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure app, designed to reduce the data collection burden to research participants. Physical activity data was collected because a strong focus on sun avoidance may result in unhealthy reductions in physical activity. This paper provides lessons learned from collecting data from participants using paper diaries, a mobile app, dosimeters, and accelerometers for measuring end-points of UVR exposure and physical activity.
Two participant groups were recruited through social and traditional media campaigns 1) Group A—UVR Diaries and 2) Group B—Physical Activity. In Group A, nineteen participants wore an UVR dosimeter wristwatch (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) when outside for 7 days. They also recorded their sun exposure and physical activity levels using both 1) the UVR diary app and 2) a paper UVR diary. In Group B, 55 participants wore an accelerometer (Actigraph, Pensacola, FL, USA) for 14 days and completed the UVR diary app. Data from the UVR diary app were compared with UVR dosimeter wristwatch, accelerometer, and paper UVR diary data. Cohen kappa coefficient score was used to determine if there was agreement between categorical variables for different UVR data collection methods and Spearman rank correlation coefficient was used to determine agreement between continuous accelerometer data and app-collected self-report physical activity.
The mean age of participants in Groups A (n=19) and B (n=55) was 29.3 and 25.4 years, and 63% (12/19) and 75% (41/55) were females, respectively. Self-reported sun exposure data in the UVR app correlated highly with UVR dosimetry (κ=0.83, 95% CI 0.64-1.00, P<.001). Correlation between self-reported UVR app and accelerometer-collected moderate to vigorous physical activity data was low (ρ=0.23, P=.10), while agreement for low-intensity physical activity was significantly different (ρ=-0.49, P<.001). Seventy-nine percent of participants preferred the app over the paper diary for daily self-report of UVR exposure and physical activity.