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Research Letter
December 2016

Characteristics and Practices of Adults Who Use Tanning Beds in Private Residences

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson
  • 2Department of Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee
  • 3Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, School of Applied Sciences, University of Mississippi, University
  • 4Department of Pharmacy Administration, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, University
  • 5Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
  • 6Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 7Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(12):1383-1385. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3111

Recent research shows that 7.7% of individuals who use indoor tanning beds do so in private homes,1 but little is known about this group. This study evaluated the tanning practices, reasons for tanning, and association with tanning addiction of adults who use tanning beds in private residences.

A nationally representative sample of 773 adults (≥18 years) who have ever used an indoor tanning bed or who intend to was recruited through Survey Sampling International from July 24 to August 19, 2014. We first recorded the prevalence of indivduals who have ever used an indoor tanning bed in a home. We then created 2 groups of participants who used an indoor tanning bed in the last year (N = 519): those who reported tanning primarily in a home setting (ie, their home or someone else’s home) (n = 44) and those who reported tanning primarily elsewhere (n = 475). We compared these groups on demographics, indoor tanning frequency in the past year, and symptoms of tanning addiction. Symptoms of tanning addiction were measured using the 7-item Behavioral Addiction Indoor Tanning Screener, a tool developed to capture tanning behaviors that correspond with behavioral addictions such as feelings of diminished control and strong urges to engage in indoor tanning.2 Participants who endorsed 2 or more items on the Behavioral Addiction Indoor Tanning Screener were considered to be positive for tanning addiction. We evaluated reasons that people tan primarily at home (Cronbach α, 0.94). Finally, among the 72 individuals who said their family owns a home tanning bed, we evaluated use and maintenance practices. The University of Massachusetts Medical School institutional review board granted ethics approval. Participant consent was waived since the survey is minimal risk and anonymous. Instead, participants reviewed a fact sheet before starting the survey.

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