Beauty and the burn: tanning and other appearance-altering attitudes and behaviors

Meghan M. Gillen, Charlotte H. Markey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Tanning is often prompted by appearance concerns, yet little is known about associations between tanning and other appearance-altering behaviors. In the current study, we examined potential correlates of indoor and outdoor tanning that, like tanning, may enhance appearance but present health risks. College students (N = 284; Mage = 20.14, SD = 3.39) completed a survey. The main outcome measures were indoor tanning and outdoor sunbathing. Participants also answered questions pertaining to piercings and tattoos, healthy and unhealthy dieting behaviors, cigarette smoking, and interest in cosmetic surgery and enhancements. Results indicate that indoor tanners were more likely to have piercings, tattoos, to engage in healthy dieting behaviors, and to express interest in cosmetic enhancements. Outdoor sunbathers were more interested in cosmetic enhancements than non-outdoor sunbathers, and female outdoor sunbathers reported more unhealthy dieting behaviors than male outdoor sunbathers. These findings provide evidence for college students’ engagement in a constellation of appearance-oriented risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1277
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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