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An Internet-Based Behavioral Intervention for Individuals Diagnosed with Melanoma

Elliot J Coups

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Individuals diagnosed with melanoma are at risk for disease recurrence and second primary melanoma and it is recommended that they regularly perform thorough skin self-examination and routinely engage in sun protection behaviors. However, previous research indicates that the majority of melanoma patients do not perform skin self-examination on a sufficiently regular basis, and when they do so, they do not conduct a thorough inspection of all areas of the body. Many patients also fail to engage in one or more sun protection behaviors. The goal of the proposed research is to develop and test an innovative behavioral intervention to promote skin surveillance and sun protection behaviors among melanoma patients. The intervention will be delivered via the Internet as opposed to other delivery channels, as it is an efficient and potentially low cost way to deliver interactive,personally tailored content to patients. The project will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 focuses on intervention development, acceptability and usability testing, and refinement. Phase 2 is a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of an interactive tailored website versususual care in promoting patients' engagement in thorough skin self-examination and sun protection behaviors. The primary aim of the project is to evaluate the impact of the interactive tailored website versus usual care on thorough skin self-examination and sun protection behaviors. The secondary aim of the project is to identify mediators of the impact of the intervention, which will facilitate a conceptual understanding of why the intervention worked and will also aid the development of more effective interventions. The exploratory aim of the project is to examine moderators of the impact of the intervention. This will identify patient subgroups that are particularly amenable or resistant to the effects of the intervention, which will inform future intervention development and targeting.

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