Case-control studies have found evidence linking UV radiation exposure through indoor artificial UV tanning to all forms of skin cancer, and these risks increase exponentially for those who indoor tan more than 10 times a year.1,2 Compounding the problem are the high rates of indoor UV tanning among young women, who engage in significantly more indoor tanning than men.3,4 Despite these risks, few prevention efforts have been developed specifically targeting indoor tanners who tan very frequently.
The present pilot study tested the efficacy of 2 brief intervention approaches, shown to be successful in modifying other difficult-to-change health behaviors, in reducing very frequent indoor tanning behavior in young women: (1) the peer-delivered Motivational Interview5 (PMI) and (2) personalized graphic feedback (PGF).6 The PMI uses a one-on-one, 30-minute counseling session to provide cognitive-behavioral skills information and help participants evaluate the effects of current indoor tanning behaviors with the aim of enhancing their desire to reduce harmful behaviors. The benefit of the PMI is that the health and appearance information can be tailored to the salient aspects of the participants’ concerns. The PMI uses a personalized graphic feedback sheet that incorporates information on the participants’ indoor tanning behaviors, normative beliefs about tanning, beliefs about tanning effects, tanning-related problems, tanning financial costs, family history of skin cancers, and skin-protective behaviors (Figure).
The PGF uses the same feedback sheet used in the PMI (Figure) but is delivered via mail with no person-to-person contact. To ensure that our subjects read the PGF material, we had them log on to a secured Web site and answer questions regarding its content. A benefit of the PGF is its low cost and ease of implementation, making it potentially more sustainable than the PMI. We hypothesized that individuals completing either of the 2 interventions (PMI or PGF) would engage in fewer indoor tanning sessions than subjects in a nonintervention control group during the 3-month postintervention follow-up period.