Friendly tanning: young adults' engagement with friends around indoor tanning.J Behav Med 2017; 40(4):631-640JB
Indoor tanning (IT), particularly during early adulthood, increases risk for melanoma and is exceedingly common among youth. Social influence, including social norms, promotes IT but little is known about young adults' engagement with friends around tanning. We examined IT behaviors and tanning-related communication with friends at three universities. Of 837 participants, 261 (31%) reported ever tanning (90% female, 85% White). Of those, 113 (43%) were former tanners and 148 (57%) current tanners. Current tanners reported more social tanning and discussions with friends about tanning, more frequent outdoor tanning, high propensity to tan, and greater lifetime IT exposure than former tanners. Risks-to-benefits discussion ratios were greater for former tanners. In adjusted analyses, current tanners were more likely to make plans to tan and to talk about tanning benefits with friends. Findings confirm IT is a social experience. Future work should examine social tanning's role in the promotion and reduction of IT among youth.