Intentional tanning behaviors among undergraduates on the United States' Gulf Coast

Academic Article


  • Background: Rates of melanoma have dramatically increased among adolescents and young adults in recent years, particularly among young women. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from intentional tanning practices is likely a major contributor to this epidemic. Southern and coastal regions have higher melanoma mortality rates among non-Hispanic whites in other parts of the U.S., yet little is known about tanning practices of adolescents and young adults in these regions. This study determines the prevalence and methods of intentional tanning utilized by an undergraduate population located on the United States' Gulf Coast. Methods: Undergraduate students enrolled at a university on the Gulf Coast completed an online survey from March-April 2016, self-reporting their engagement, knowledge, and attitudes regarding outdoor tanning (OT), indoor tanning (IT) and spray tanning (ST). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with tanning behaviors. Results: 2668 undergraduates completed the survey. Of these, 64.9% reported OT tanning, 50.7% reported ever IT, and 21.2% reported ever ST. Conclusions: In the largest study to date of intentional tanning behaviors of adolescents and young adults from coastal regions, we found high rates of intentional tanning behaviors. There was also significant engagement in spray tanning by this population, not previously reported for adolescents and young adults in a sample of this size. We also identified a high association between different tanning methods, indicating this population engages in multiple tanning behaviors, a phenomenon whose health consequences are not yet known.
  • Published In

  • BMC Public Health  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daniel CL; Gassman NR; Fernandez AM; Bae S; Tan MCB
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 1