A Web-Based Intervention to Reduce Indoor Tanning Motivations in Adolescents: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Joel Hillhouse, Rob Turrisi, Nichole M. Scaglione, Michael J. Cleveland, Katie Baker, L. Carter Florence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Youthful indoor tanning as few as ten sessions can increase the risk of melanoma by two to four times with each additional session adding another 2 % to the risk. Recent research estimates that indoor tanning can be linked to approximately 450,000 cases of skin cancer annually in the USA, Europe, and Australia. Despite these risks, indoor tanning remains popular with adolescents. This study tested the efficacy of a web-based skin cancer prevention intervention designed to reduce indoor tanning motivations in adolescent females. A nationally representative sample of 443 female teens was enrolled from an online panel into a two-arm, parallel group design, randomized controlled trial. Treatment participants received an appearance-focused intervention grounded in established health behavior change models. Controls viewed a teen alcohol prevention website. Outcome variables included willingness and intentions to indoor tan, willingness to sunless tan, and measures of indoor tanning attitudes and beliefs. The intervention decreased willingness and intentions to indoor tan and increased sunless tanning willingness relative to controls. We also examined indirect mechanisms of change through intervening variables (e.g., indoor tanning attitudes, norms, positive and negative expectancies) using the product of coefficient approach. The web-based intervention demonstrated efficacy in changing adolescent indoor tanning motivations and improving their orientation toward healthier alternatives. Results from the intervening variable analyses give guidance to future adolescent skin cancer prevention interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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