Developing and testing message strategies to reduce indoor tanning

Amy B. Jordan, Amy Bleakley, Julia M. Alber, De Ann Lazovich, Karen Glanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Indoor tanning, which is most common among 18-25-year-old white women, increases the risk of skin cancer. To address this problem, we developed and tested messages with a national sample of indoor tanners to determine beliefs that would encourage them to quit. Methods: Messages discouraging indoor tanning using different persuasive themes (skin cancer risk, appearance risk, well-being enhancement) were developed based on formative research and a review of intervention efforts. We conducted an online experiment to test the final messages with a national sample of 480 indoor tanners. Results: Messages that emphasized skin cancer risk out-performed messages that focused on well-being enhancement or damage to appearance in terms of intention to quit indoor tanning. Analyses revealed 2 key mediators: Perceived argument strength and beliefs related to the effects of indoor tanning. Conclusions: Theory- A nd evidence-informed public health communications can contribute to improving health-related behaviors. Focusing on the risk of skin cancer may be the most effective strategy to reduce indoor tanning among young white women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Health communication
  • Health promotion
  • Indoor tanning
  • Integrative model
  • Skin cancer


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