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Br J Dermatol. 1997 Dec;137(6):950-4.

Why do young women use sunbeds? A comparative psychological study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Abstract

Many people are keen on getting a skin tan despite being aware of warnings of health hazards. The present study investigates differences between women regularly using sunbeds and a control group of non-users in the areas of self-concept, narcissistic regulatory modalities, social assertiveness and generalized self-efficacy. Thirty women users of suntan salons and 34 women who never used one were investigated with standardized psychological questionnaires. In addition, their knowledge about the hazards of using sunbeds and attitudes to tanning were recorded. Statistical evaluation shows that sunbed users demonstrate more object devaluation: that is, other persons are devalued so that they are not even considered worthy of affection. Furthermore, they also display greater anxiety in their feelings and relationships with others. The results of this pilot study support the hypothesis that a tanned skin, by helping sunbed users to achieve their ideal of beauty, enables them to devalue other people and thus possibly to protect themselves from close relationships. As medical information about the hazards of ultraviolet irradiation fails to make an adequate impression on them, public relations campaigns must be undertaken in order to make them aware of the underlying motives of their behaviour.

PMID:
9470913
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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