Frequent Indoor Tanners’ Beliefs About Indoor Tanning and Cessation

Karen Glanz, Amy Jordan, De Ann Lazovich, Amy Bleakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Indoor tanning is associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 white women aged 18 to 25 are indoor tanners. This study elicited beliefs about tanning indoors and quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning. Design: Semi-structured interviews. Participants and Setting: Forty 18- to 25-year-old white females who engaged in frequent indoor tanning participated in either in-person or telephone interviews. Most were college students from southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Method: A semi-structured interview was used to elicit beliefs about indoor tanning and quitting or cutting back. Data analyses using NVivo and multiple coders identified key themes about going and quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning. Results: Key themes stated as reasons for indoor tanning included improving physical appearance, social acceptance, increased confidence, and happiness. The main themes identified as advantages of quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning were to decrease skin cancer risk and save money. Perceived disadvantages of quitting/cutting back included themes of concerns about being pale and a decline in self-confidence. The prospect of saving money and warm weather were seen as facilitating quitting/cutting back. Conclusion: Findings suggest the necessity of addressing appearance concerns, psychological benefits associated with feeling more attractive, and short-term gains such as saving money. These findings provide a foundation for developing effective anti-indoor tanning communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was reviewed and approved by the University of Pennsylvania institutional review board (Protocol Number 821348). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in the study. This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Cooperative agreement number 1U48DP005053).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • indoor tanning
  • skin cancer
  • young adult women

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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