The authors wish to thank Janice Templeton and Cindy Creps for their contributions to this research, and Robin Kowalski for her comments on an earlier draft on the manuscript. This study was completed while the second author was at Wake Forest University.
The Social Psychology of Tanning and Sunscreen Use: Self-Presentational Motives as a Predictor of Health Risk1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 23, Issue 17, pages 1390–1406, September 1993
How to Cite
Leary, M. R. and Jones, J. L. (1993), The Social Psychology of Tanning and Sunscreen Use: Self-Presentational Motives as a Predictor of Health Risk. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23: 1390–1406. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1993.tb01039.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
To the extent that many people seek and maintain a suntan because they believe it makes them more attractive, people who are particularly motivated to make good impressions on others or to be seen as physically attractive are at increased risk for skin cancer. This study examined cognitive, motivational, and attitudinal predictors of two factors that are associated with increased risk for skin cancer: engaging in behaviors that increase one's exposure to UV radiation and inadequate use of sunscreen. Self-presentational motives involving a concern for one's personal appearance and the belief that being tan enhances one's attractiveness were the strongest predictors of the degree to which respondents exposed themselves to natural and artificial sources of UV radiation. Sunscreen use was best predicted by knowing someone with skin cancer. Implications for attempts to promote safe-sun practices are discussed.