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Gendered factors influencing college students to tan

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Schumacher, Jessica; Richardson, Rhonda
Wolfgram, Susan M.
Tanning salons--Social aspects; Beauty, Personal--Social aspects
Tanning has become a social problem because the societal pressure to tan as a means to achieve beauty outweighs the health risks involved in the decision whether or not to tan (Bagdasarov, Banarjee, Greene, & Campo, 2008). Tanning is defined as the exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays through sun radiation and sun-bed/sunlamp exposure (Cafri, Thompson, Roehrig, Rojas, Sperry, Jacobsen, & Hillhouse, 2008). This nonrandom pilot study examined differences in the factors that influence male and female college students' decisions whether or not to tan by surveying 92 college students at a midwestern college. We hypothesized females would engage in sun-tanning behaviors more frequently than males to improve their appearance while being aware of the risks of UV ray exposure. Some of the collected data supported our hypothesis. Survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. Our findings are consistent with previous research indicating females are more likely to tan because appearance plays a large role in females' self esteem (Cox, Cooper, Vess, Arndt, Goldenberg, & Routledge, 2009). It is recommended that college health care facilities and counseling centers, middle school and high school teachers, and health educators use this information to work against tanning with the perception of attractiveness.
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