Prevalence of Tanning Addiction and Behavioral Health Conditions among Ethnically and Racially Diverse Adolescents

Kimberly A. Miller, Sarah E. Piombo, Junhan Cho, Shauna Higgins, Ashley Wysong, Steve Sussman, Myles G. Cockburn, Adam M. Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Evidence indicates that tanning may be addictive and is associated with other behavioral health conditions. Few studies have examined tanning addiction among adolescents. We performed a cross-sectional study to explore the relationship between tanning addiction, substance use, and psychological conditions among a racially and ethnically diverse adolescent population. Tanning addiction was assessed using the modified CAGE measure among 11th grade students in Los Angeles (N = 2,637; response rate 78%). Overall, 7.02% of the sample met tanning addiction criteria. Tanning addiction was significantly associated with past 30-day smoking and marijuana use, problem substance use, depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder in regression models. After controlling for all significant substance use and psychological variables, we found that problem marijuana use and obsessive-compulsive disorder remained significantly associated with tanning addiction (odds ratio = 2.06 [95% confidence interval = 1.03–4.09] and odds ratio = 2.54 [95% confidence interval = 1.73–3.72], respectively.) Tanning addiction was also significantly associated with multiple problem substance use and behavioral health conditions. Our findings indicate an appreciable prevalence of tanning addiction among ethnically and racially diverse adolescents and suggest the importance of addressing tanning addiction in the context of comorbid behavioral conditions to reduce this high-risk behavior among diverse youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1511-1517
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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