Developing and testing message strategies to reduce indoor tanning

Amy B. Jordan, Amy Bleakley, Julia M. Alber, De Ann Lazovich, Karen Glanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Indoor tanning, which is most common among 18-25-year-old white women, increases the risk of skin cancer. To address this problem, we developed and tested messages with a national sample of indoor tanners to determine beliefs that would encourage them to quit. Methods: Messages discouraging indoor tanning using different persuasive themes (skin cancer risk, appearance risk, well-being enhancement) were developed based on formative research and a review of intervention efforts. We conducted an online experiment to test the final messages with a national sample of 480 indoor tanners. Results: Messages that emphasized skin cancer risk out-performed messages that focused on well-being enhancement or damage to appearance in terms of intention to quit indoor tanning. Analyses revealed 2 key mediators: Perceived argument strength and beliefs related to the effects of indoor tanning. Conclusions: Theory- A nd evidence-informed public health communications can contribute to improving health-related behaviors. Focusing on the risk of skin cancer may be the most effective strategy to reduce indoor tanning among young white women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Caroline LaRochelle, Jill McDonald, and Barbara Walkosz. This publication was supported by Co-operative Agreement Number, 1U48DP005053, funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views of the CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 PNG Publications. All rights reserved.


  • Health communication
  • Health promotion
  • Indoor tanning
  • Integrative model
  • Skin cancer


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