Negative appearance evaluation is associated with skin cancer risk behaviors among American men and women

Health Psychol. 2015 Jan;34(1):93-6. doi: 10.1037/hea0000100. Epub 2014 Aug 18.


Objective: The current study aimed to examine links between appearance evaluation and skin cancer risk behaviors in men and women.

Method: Data (N = 1,535; men, n = 873; women, n = 662) were extracted from Wave 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative, longitudinal dataset of U.S. adolescents and young adults.

Results: Skin cancer risk (i.e., number of hours spent outside for those with a history of severe sunburn and who were unlikely to use sunscreen) was significantly associated with participant gender, appearance evaluation, and their interaction. Both men and women who negatively evaluated their appearance were at significantly increased skin cancer risk, and this was particularly true for men.

Conclusions: Negative appearance evaluation appears to be a correlate of engaging in behaviors that place individuals at risk of developing skin cancer. Future research may benefit from skin cancer prevention interventions that directly address appearance-based evaluations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Skin Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Sunburn
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • United States


  • Sunscreening Agents