Abstract

The purpose of this research is to assess the indoor tanning behaviors of students at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in Bloomington, Illinois and formulate strategies to reduce students’ risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is widespread, and is the second most common cancer among people aged 15-24 years. There is strong evidence to support that many skin cancer cases seen today could have been avoided if the individual had never used an indoor tanning device. Research suggests the use of indoor tanning devices is popular among college-aged females in the US, thus persuading this demographic to reduce their indoor tanning behavior is essential in order to reduce the rates of skin cancer. However, a research gap exists in prevention efforts to reduce indoor tanning at colleges and universities. The methodology of the research included conducting a literature review on skin cancer and indoor tanning devices, interviewing three community key informants as well as 25 IWU students, investigating the indoor tanning business in the local community, and finally constructing and sending out an indoor tanning survey to IWU students (n=172). Results indicated that indoor tanning is somewhat prevalent at Illinois Wesleyan: about 18 percent of survey respondents reported using them anywhere from one to over forty times in the last year. Several strategies were suggested to reduce this rate, including appearance-based interventions, spreading awareness of the prevalence of skin cancer and the danger of indoor tanning, and providing information on alternative behaviors.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Sciences | Public Health

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