Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joel Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Sacco, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Brannick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rita Debate, Ph.D.


Skin cancer, Sunbathing, Indoor tanning, Body image, Theory of planned behavior


Understanding the motives for sunbathing and indoor tanning is an extremely important public health issue. UV exposure via sunbathing and utilization of sun lamps and tanning beds are considered important risk factors for the development of skin cancer. Psychosocial models of UV exposure are often based on theories of health behavior, but theory from the body image field can be useful in understanding motives to UV expose as well. The current study examines models that prospectively predict sunbathing and indoor tanning behaviors using constructs and interrelationships derived from the tripartite theory of body image (Thompson et al., 1999), as well as those from the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980), health belief model (Rosenstock, 1974), revised protection motivation theory (Rogers, 1983), and a proposed integration of several health behavior models (Fishbein, 2000). The results generally support a model in which intentions mediate the relationship between appearance attitudes and tanning behaviors, appearance reasons to tan and intentions mediate the relationship between sociocultural influences and tanning behaviors, and appearance reasons not to tan and intentions mediate the role of perceived threat on behaviors. The implications of these findings yield important information relevant to the understanding of motives to UV expose, which can useful to the development of novel prevention and early intervention programs geared toward the reduction of skin cancer risk.