Patterns of indoor tanning use: implications for clinical interventions

Arch Dermatol. 2007 Dec;143(12):1530-5. doi: 10.1001/archderm.143.12.1530.


Objective: To identify indoor tanning patterns with relevance for health screening and prevention efforts.

Design: We collected data on indoor tanning patterns from January 17, 2006, through April 14, 2006. By cluster analysis, 4 patterns of indoor tanning were identified: special event, spontaneous or mood, mixed, and regular year-round tanning. These 4 types of indoor tanning were compared by demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial variables for clinically significant differences.

Setting: Midsized (ie, approximately 12 000 students) southeastern university.

Participants: A total of 168 women who tanned indoors.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported attitudes, intentions and tanning behaviors, and tanning dependence.

Results: Event tanners tanned the least, started tanning the latest, and scored lowest on measures of attitudes, social norms, and tanning dependence measures. Regular year-round tanners started the earliest, tanned at the highest levels, and scored the highest on the attitude, social norms, and tanning dependence measures. Spontaneous or mood tanners were similar to event tanners but with a mood component to their tanning. Mixed tanners, as the name implies, exhibited behavior that appeared to be a mixture of the regular and event tanning types.

Conclusions: The results of this study emphasize the fact that "one size fits all" does not apply when it comes to indoor tanning. Tanning behavioral types, which can be clinically assessed, can serve as a guide to physicians so that they can tailor their skin cancer prevention messages to be more effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / radiation effects
  • Attitude to Health
  • Beauty Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Psychology
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sunlight*