Effects of Sorority Participation on Artificial Tanning Habits in College Students

Allison L. Attal, Baylor University

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v8/attal.html

Abstract The effect of sorority affiliation on artificial tanning frequencies was investigated. Variables were measured using an artificial tanning survey developed for this research. The results indicated that while the proportion of participants that had used a tanning bed at least once was higher for the sample of sorority members than for the sample of non-sorority members, there appears to be no connection between sorority affiliation and frequency of tanning bed use over the past month and past six months. That is, on a monthly and semi-annual basis, sorority members are not more likely to use a tanning bed more frequently than non-sorority members. The findings are consistent with theories of the effects of peer crowd identification and appearance motivation on artificial tanning habits.

Introduction Each year, over 1 million cases of skin cancer occur worldwide. The most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, continues to increase at a rate of 3 percent per year. (American Cancer Society, 2005). In the two decades between 1960 and 1980, the incidence of skin cancer quadrupled (Fears & Scotto, 1982). This increasing occurrence coincides with the introduction of the first tanning salon in 1978 (Fleischer, Lee, Adams, & Zanolli, 1993), leading to the inference that artificial tanning is actually more harmful than natural sun tanning due to the more intense, concentrated UV exposure. Westerdahl, Olsson, Masback, Ingvar, Jonsson, Brandt, Jonsson and Moller (1994) found that individuals under the age of 30 years who artificially tanned 10 or more times per year had an almost 8 times increased risk of developing cancerous melanoma. Skin cancer is not the only risk of tanning; eye problems, including cataracts and eye burns, also occur. Evidence links the occurrence of these ailments to excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation leading healthcare authorities, such as the World Health Organization (2009), to recommend limited exposure to these harmful rays (Elwood, Whitehead, & Gallagher, 1989). Extensive research is now being conducted to determine why people continue to use tanning beds in spite of the many risks in order to find the most effective preventative measures.

Read the full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v8/attal.html