The impact of a social media literacy intervention on positive attitudes to tanning: A pilot study

John Mingoia, Amanda D. Hutchinson, David H. Gleaves, Carlene Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Skin cancer is a prominent public health concern in Australia. The desire to darken skin tone is derived, in part, from portrayals of people with tanned skin on social media. Methods: The current study pilot tested a social media literacy intervention that aimed to decrease positive attitudes to tanning and improve the capacity to be critical of social media and the messages promulgated. A total of 84 young women (aged 18–29; M = 22.30, SD = 2.97) participated in the study, 28 in a Facebook group and 56 in a wait-list control group, with the latter receiving the intervention materials at the conclusion of the study. Results: The intervention resulted in significantly decreased positive tanning attitudes in the intervention group compared to the control group and improved media literacy skills in both groups. Intervention group participants reported significantly less internalization of a tanned ideal, appearance comparisons, and tanning intentions than control group participants. Conclusions: Media literacy education is a novel strategy to reduce the harmful effect of social media messages about tanning on skin cancer risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Facebook
  • Media literacy
  • Skin tone
  • Social media
  • Tanning


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