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J Adolesc Health. 2004 Dec;35(6):528.e1-9.

Maternal/female caregiver influences on adolescent indoor tanning.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To identify aspects of maternal/female caregiver (MFC) influences on adolescents' indoor tanning, including modeling, cognitions (MFC knowledge and attitudes about indoor tanning), and gatekeeping/monitoring (MFC permissiveness and concern) of indoor tanning.


A telephone survey of adolescents aged 14-17 years and their female parent/caregiver in Minnesota and Massachusetts was conducted in 2000-2001 (n = 1284 matched pairs). Logistic regression was used to obtain odds ratios for relationships between measures of MFC influence and teens' indoor tanning practices, adjusting for demographic and sun sensitivity differences.


Separately, each of the five MFC influence variables was significantly associated with adolescents' indoor tanning practices. In a multivariate model, significant independent contributors were parents' behavior, parents' concern about their children's indoor tanning practices, and MFC permissiveness of teen indoor tanning. Using a combined summed scale of the 5 influence factors, there was a monotonically increasing likelihood of tanning with each incremental scale increase: (in comparison to none, 1 factor aOR = 4.1, 95% CI: 1.3, 12.8; any 2 factors aOR = 8.3, 95% CI: 2.8, 24.6; any 3 factors aOR = 14.3, 95% CI = 4.9, 41.8; any 4 factors aOR = 30.5, 95% CI: 10.3, 90.3; all 5 factors aOR = 66.0, 95% CI: 20.0, 217.6).


Mothers/female caregivers may be a powerful influence on their teenagers' indoor tanning use, and are an important target for future health promotion efforts to discourage youth indoor tanning.

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