Background: Frequent, purposeful exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light may induce a compulsive desire to tan despite the negative consequences being known, suggesting a behavioural complex similar to addictive disorders.
Aim: To assess the presence of addictive-like behaviours in subjects using indoor tanning salons.
Methods: Subjects (n = 100) were surveyed by two questionnaires: a modified CAGE questionnaire to assess behaviours consistent with problem tanning and a modified Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) ('substance dependence' criteria) to assess behaviours consistent with a dependence-like disorder.
Results: In total, 41% of subjects met criteria consistent with a 'tanning addictive disorder', and an additional 33% met criteria for problematic tanning behaviour based on the modified CAGE criteria or subthreshold criteria on the modified DSM-IV criteria. Female gender and early age of onset were associated with meeting tanning addiction criteria.
Conclusion: A high percentage of subjects who tan frequently in indoor salons experience behaviours and consequences to their tanning consistent with other identified addictive disorders.
© 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 British Association of Dermatologists.