Evaluating a measure of tanning abuse and dependence

Arch Dermatol. 2012 Jul;148(7):815-9. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2011.2929.


Objective: To evaluate the Structured Interview for Tanning Abuse and Dependence (SITAD).

Design: Longitudinal survey.

Setting: College campus.

Participants: A total of 296 adults.

Main outcome measures: The SITAD modified items from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders that focus on opiate abuse and dependence. Indoor tanning (IT) behavioral patterns and opiate-like reactions to tanning were measured, and IT behavior was measured 6 months later.

Results: Of 296 participants, 32 (10.8%) met the SITAD criteria for tanning abuse (maladaptive pattern of tanning as manifested by failure to fulfill role obligations, physically hazardous tanning, legal problems, or persistent social or interpersonal problems) and 16 (5.4%) for tanning dependence as defined by 3 or more of the following: loss of control, cut down, time, social problems, physical or psychological problems, tolerance, and withdrawal. The IT frequency in dependent tanners was more than 10 times the rate in participants who do not meet the SITAD criteria for tanning abuse or dependence. Tanning-dependent participants were more likely to report being regular tanners (75%; odds ratio, 7.0). Dependent tanners scored higher on the opiate-like reactions to tanning scale than did abuse tanners, who scored higher than those with no diagnosis.

Conclusions: The SITAD demonstrated some evidence of validity, with tanning-dependent participants reporting regular IT, higher IT frequency, and higher scores on an opiate-like reactions to tanning scale. A valid tanning dependence screening tool is essential for researchers and physicians as a tanning-dependent diagnosis may facilitate a better understanding of tanning motivations and aid in the development of efficacious intervention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Sunbathing / psychology*
  • Tennessee / epidemiology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult