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How often sunscreen used if outside on sunny day over 1 hour

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For sample adults, SUN1SNS reports how often the respondent used sunscreen when outside for more than one hour on a sunny day.


In 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008 but not 2010 and forward, respondents were shown a flashcard listing the response categories, which included, "Always," "Most of the time," "Sometimes," "Rarely" and "Never." In 2010 and forward, respondents were read the same response categories but not shown a flashcard.

The question wording changed slightly over time. In 2000 and 2003, the question asks about, "a very sunny day." However from 2005 forward, the question asks about, "a warm sunny day."

The 2000 and 2005 Field Representative's Manuals provide the following definition for sunscreen:

Sunscreens protect from too much sunlight which can cause sunburns. Sunscreens help to prevent other problems related to sun exposure, such as aging skin and precancerous growths. Sunscreens currently come in a variety of forms (such as gels, lotions, and sprays, and sticks).

The 2003 Field Representative's Manual provides a nearly identically worded definition for sunscreen. The 2008 and forwardField Representative's Manual provides a nearly identically worded definition for sunscreen but also adds the synonym "sunblock" to the definition.

In all years, the Field Representative's Manual instructs interviewers not to read the choice, "don't go out in sun." Further, this choice does not appear on the flashcard that respondents are shown in years in which a flashcard is used. In other words, respondents are not given this choice, but it is an acceptable response.

For more information, please see SUN1HR.


The slight change in the phrasing of the question from, "a very sunny day" to, "a warm sunny day" does not seem likely to make responses substantially different; however, researchers should be aware of this change.


  • 2000; 2003; 2005; 2008; 2010; 2015: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2015