Frequent Indoor Tanners’ Beliefs About Indoor Tanning and Cessation

Karen Glanz, Amy Jordan, De Ann Lazovich, Amy Bleakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Indoor tanning is associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 white women aged 18 to 25 are indoor tanners. This study elicited beliefs about tanning indoors and quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning. Design: Semi-structured interviews. Participants and Setting: Forty 18- to 25-year-old white females who engaged in frequent indoor tanning participated in either in-person or telephone interviews. Most were college students from southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Method: A semi-structured interview was used to elicit beliefs about indoor tanning and quitting or cutting back. Data analyses using NVivo and multiple coders identified key themes about going and quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning. Results: Key themes stated as reasons for indoor tanning included improving physical appearance, social acceptance, increased confidence, and happiness. The main themes identified as advantages of quitting/cutting back on indoor tanning were to decrease skin cancer risk and save money. Perceived disadvantages of quitting/cutting back included themes of concerns about being pale and a decline in self-confidence. The prospect of saving money and warm weather were seen as facilitating quitting/cutting back. Conclusion: Findings suggest the necessity of addressing appearance concerns, psychological benefits associated with feeling more attractive, and short-term gains such as saving money. These findings provide a foundation for developing effective anti-indoor tanning communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • indoor tanning
  • skin cancer
  • young adult women


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