Danger Ubiquity Rationalization Endorsed by Tanning Bed Users

(HealthDay News) – Despite medical evidence of the potential hazards of tanning beds, current tanning bed users strongly endorse danger ubiquity rationalizations, according to a research letter published in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

To identify the cognitive rationalizations that justify tanning bed use despite awareness of the risks, Smita C Banerjee, PhD, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues surveyed 551 undergraduates aged ≤25 years. An adapted cognitive rationalization scale was used and responses ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Three a priori factors for rationalization of use were examined: skeptical rationalization (users do not believe medical evidence about tanning bed use and disease); worth-it rationalizations (users consider tanning bed use worthwhile in spite of the potential hazards); and danger ubiquity rationalizations (normalization of the dangers of tanning bed use because of the ubiquity of risks).

The researchers found that 39.6% of participants had ever used tanning beds. Of these 218 participants, 87.6% were women, and the mean age was 19.98 years. There was a high endorsement of danger ubiquity rationalizations that normalize the dangers of tanning bed use.

“The results indicated that current tanners endorse danger ubiquity rationalizations most strongly, but other rationalizations are endorsed moderately, suggesting the need for more qualitative work to uncover other rationalizations,” the authors conclude.

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