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Parents, Peers Influence Teens' Indoor Tanning Habits

Strongest predictor is teens' perception that parents do or don't allow indoor tanning

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Parents -- and to a lesser extent peers -- play an important role in adolescent indoor tanning behavior, researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Katherine D. Hoerster, of San Diego State University in San Diego, Calif., and colleagues conducted telephone interviews with 5,274 teen-parent pairs in the 100 largest U.S. cities.

The researchers found that teens whose parents had tanned indoors even once were far more likely to tan indoors during the previous 12 months than teens whose parents had never tanned indoors (21.8 percent versus 7.9 percent). They also found that the strongest predictor of adolescent indoor tanning behavior was teens' perception of whether or not their parents allowed them to tan indoors (adjusted odds ratio, 5.6). Other significant but weaker associations included parents modeling (AOR, 1.20), attitudes (AOR, 1.10) and concern about teen tanning (AOR, 1.93), and teens' perceptions that a majority of their peers value a tan (AOR, 1.73).

"These findings underscore the need to address both family- and peer-related factors when designing individual- and policy-level interventions to decrease indoor tanning among adolescents," the authors conclude.

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