Tanning bed use, deviance regulation theory, and source factors



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Tanning bed use, especially among young, white females, has become a serious health problem in the United States. Those who use tanning beds value a tanned appearance; thus, one possible way to get individuals to stop using tanning beds is to persuade them to begin using an alternative method: a sunless tanner. This study sought to use persuasive messages to encourage individuals to both stop using tanning beds and start using a sunless tanner. Deviance Regulation Theory (DRT) was used to design three messages, and source expertise was manipulated (high and low). In addition, attitudes, perceived norms, benefits and threats about tanning were examined. Results indicate that the combination of DRT message design and source expertise produced several message conditions that were effective at decreasing tanning bed use intent. No combined message condition was effective at changing sunless tanner use intent. DRT message design alone did not produce results, nor did source expertise. Tanning attitudes were influenced by reference groups, and perceived norms about tanning predicted individual?s tanning bed use for several reference groups. In addition, there was an interaction between benefits and threats of tanning.