Risky sun tanning behaviours amongst Irish University students: a quantitative analysis.

Authors: Flannery C, Burke LA, Grainger L, Williams P, Gage H

Source:

Ir J Med Sci. 2016 Nov;185(4):887-893

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Despite Ireland's temperate maritime climate, it has the third highest rate of malignant melanoma in the European Union, indicating the need to recognise tanning practices as a risky behaviour, especially amongst those most at risk (the younger population).
AIM: To explore the factors associated with deliberate sun tanning amongst university students in Cork, Ireland.
METHODS: Self-reported sun exposure, attitudes to tanning and sun protection practices were investigated using an online questionnaire in April 2010.
RESULTS: There were 833 responses (8.33 %), mean age 22 years, 75 % female. Reporting deliberate tanning in the previous summer (n = 389, 46.7 %) was positively correlated (r = 0.622, p < 0.001) with stating an intention to tan next summer (n = 532, 63.9 %). Women and respondents with darker (vs. fairer) complexion were more likely to engage in deliberate tanning (p < 0.001). Deliberate tanning was associated with reporting enjoying tanning (p < 0.001), with reporting peer pressure into tanning (p = 0.039), and (marginally) with thinking it is worth getting burnt to get a tan (p = 0.068). Younger students were significantly more likely to report these attitudes; being a current smoker was associated with reporting peer pressure and that burning is worth a tan, indicating a level of risk-taking. Respondents reported (average) three sources of information on sun risks.
CONCLUSION: Tanning is a form of strongly motivated risk-taking as much in a sun-limited country like Ireland as in hotter sun-rich climates. Risk communication strategies on sun exposure should be developed that target young people and improve their risk awareness.

PMID:

PubMed:26659080

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