Objective: To examine the role of partner assistance in learning and implementation of an intervention designed to promote skin self-examination (SSE) behaviors in persons at risk of developing melanoma. Design: Randomized controlled trial with immediate and 4-month follow-up visits. Setting: Clinical offices in the ambulatory care area of a hospital. Patients: The study included 130 participants and their cohabiting partners drawn from a melanoma registry. Intervention: The subjects were randomly assigned to receive the intervention either as solo learning or as dyadic learning. The intervention consisted of a 10-minute demonstration of the ABCDE (asymmetry of shape, border irregularity, color variegation, diameter ≥6 mm, and evolution of the lesion) rule and skills training. Main Outcome Measures: Behavioral measures included self-reported performance of SSE and use of a body map designed to record areas of concern found during SSE. Intentions, along with attitudinal measures such as perceived importance of SSE and self-efficacy in performing SSE, were also assessed at the 4-month follow-up visit. Results: The participants in the dyadic learning group were significantly more likely to report engaging in SSE behaviors (P<.05). The dyadic learning group also exhibited greater intentions to perform future SSE (P<.01), higher perceived importance of SSE (P<.01), and higher perceived self-efficacy (P<.01). Conclusion: Dyadic learning may be more effective than solo learning in regard to interventions designed to teach and promote health behaviors, such as SSE.
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