(HealthDay News) — Excessive tanning may indicate the presence of psychiatric distress, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Lisham Ashrafioun, of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and Erin E. Bonar, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, administered questionnaires to 533 university students, who were invited to participate in a study about tanning. The authors sought to evaluate characteristics and correlates of problematic tanning and tanning dependence.

The researchers found that problematic tanning and tanning dependence were associated with being female and screening positive on measures of obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder. In a model that controlled for shared variance among demographics and psychopathology, the strongest association with problematic tanning and tanning dependence was frequency of tanning in the past month.

“The results of this investigation do not provide definitive evidence for classifying problematic tanning or tanning dependence as addiction,” the authors write. “However, further investigation of this conceptualization is warranted.”

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