The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the perceived negative health effect of tanning (PNHET) and body-tanning attitudes and behaviors. A total of 333 college students with an average age of 19.8 years participated in the study. A majority of the participants were female (80.2%) and Caucasian (76.9%). Three body-tanning attitudes emerged from the data: pleasurable activity, physical attractiveness, and healthy behavior. The PNHET was negatively related to all three body-tanning attitudes and methods of tanning behaviors used (i.e., sunbathing, tanning beds, and sunless tanning product use). However, specific body-tanning attitudes independently influence the methods of body-tanning behaviors. Pleasurable activity was a significant attitude influencing indoor and outdoor tanning. College students seek tanning beds and tanning products, particularly when physical attractiveness is concerned. Healthy behavioral attitudes exist for outdoor tanning. Intervention strategies regarding body-tanning behaviors should focus on attitudinal changes, which specifically involve ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure. Educating the public about the negative health effects of tanning is still a very important intervention strategy to help individuals avoid excessive amount of harmful UV exposure and resultant skin cancer. Body-tanning behaviors, as a part of consumer culture, should change to minimize these unhealthy behaviors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research is supported by 2012 Baylor University Summer Research Sabbatical.
- body image