Fact or wishful thinking? Biased expectations in "I think I look better when I'm tanned"

Am J Health Behav. 2008 May-Jun;32(3):243-52. doi: 10.5555/ajhb.2008.32.3.243.


Objective: To examine the impact of tanned female images on respondents' perceptions of attractiveness, healthiness, and height and weight estimations.

Method: A 3 (light, medium, or dark tan) by 2 (male or female respondent) experimental design.

Results: Only male respondents perceived the dark-tanned woman as more physically attractive and thinner than both light- and medium-tanned women. Men also perceived the dark-tanned woman as more interpersonally attractive and healthier than the medium-tanned woman.

Conclusions: Campaigns targeted at males need to reduce the perceptions that tanned females are healthier, thinner, and more attractive. Educational efforts targeting females need to reduce attraction-based motivations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Image
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Heliotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Southeastern United States