Knowledge Not Tied to Addictive Tanning Behavior in Millennials

Increased knowledge not linked to less tanning; negative link for self-esteem, tanning behavior
Increased knowledge not linked to less tanning; negative link for self-esteem, tanning behavior

HealthDay News — For millennials, sun protection knowledge is not associated with addictive tanning behavior, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs.

Amy Watson, PhD, from Oregon State University-Cascades, and colleagues examined consumers' current level of sun protection knowledge and prevention, tanning motivation, and behavior among 256 students enrolled at a major university in the southwest. An online survey was administered to participants, covering a variety of tanning-related topics and personality construct scales. 

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The researchers observed no correlation for knowledge with additive tanning behavior; increased knowledge was not associated with lower levels of addictive tanning. There was a negative correlation for self-esteem with tanning behavior. Furthermore, motivation for perceived appearance enhancement was a significant predictor of addictive tanning behavior. The correlation between narcissism and additive tanning was mediated by appearance motivation.

"It is significant that the impact of increased knowledge does not appear powerful enough to override their desire to attain cultural ideals of attractiveness associated with tanned skin," the authors write. "This information can and should be used by health care organizations, policymakers, and academic researchers working together to develop ways to use the relationships identified in this study to help decrease tanning behaviors."

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