Indoor Tanning Addiction Observed in College Students

And self-reported addictive tanning behaviors linked to anxiety and alcohol, other substance use

TUESDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many college students meet the criteria for addiction to indoor tanning, which is also associated with an increased likelihood of anxiety and substance use, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Catherine E. Mosher, Ph.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and Sharon Danoff-Burg, Ph.D., of the State University of New York in Albany, modified the CAGE (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener) Questionnaire, used to screen for alcoholism, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for substance-related disorders to evaluate 421 college students for addiction to indoor tanning. They also administered standardized self-report measures of anxiety, depression, and substance use.

Of the 229 students who had used indoor tanning facilities, the researchers found that 90 (39.3 percent) met the DSM-IV-TR criteria and that 70 (30.6 percent) met the CAGE criteria for addiction to indoor tanning. Students who met both sets of criteria were significantly more likely than those who met neither set to report greater symptoms of anxiety and greater use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. However, depressive symptoms did not significantly vary by indoor tanning addiction status.

"Findings suggest that interventions to reduce skin cancer risk should address the addictive qualities of indoor tanning for a minority of individuals and the relationship of this behavior to other addictions and affective disturbance," the authors conclude.

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