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Cancer Control Research

Thompson, Joel K.


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Understanding the motives for sunbathing and indoor tanning is an extremely important public health issue. Skin cancer rates have increased dramatically in recent years and research has indicated a parallel increase in exposure via sunbathing and utilization of sun lamps and tanning beds. Motives for such behaviors have been thought to be related to appearance concerns, yet little research has examined variables such as societal attitudes toward tanning, appearance-related motives, and body image (i.e., appearance) dissatisfaction. Two studies are proposed that detail measurement development and model testing to predict indoor tanning, sunbathing, and sun-protection intentions and behaviors. Study 1 involves the initial development of a multidimensional measure of tan appearance influences and motives. Study 2 will cross validate the measure obtained in Study 1 and also examine the relations among the new tan appearance scale, general appearance satisfaction, skin cancer risk susceptibility and intentions to indoor tan, sunbathe, and use sun-protection strategies. A prospective component will also be part of Study 2, whereby indoor tanning, sunbathing, and sun-protection behaviors will be assessed at six-month follow-up. Structural equation modeling will be used to test a model evaluating the direct and mediated effects of tan appearance factors, general appearance satisfaction, risk susceptibility, and intentions (indoor tanning, sunbathing, sun-protection) on predicting behaviors (indoor tanning, sunbathing, sun protection). The findings from these investigations should yield important information relevant to the development of novel prevention and early intervention programs geared toward the reduction of skin cancer risk.

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