The relationship between skin tone dissatisfaction and sun tanning behaviour

Ivanka Prichard, Anna Kneebone, Amanda Hutchinson, Carlene Wilson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Understanding the factors that contribute to sun exposure is vital for skin cancer prevention. The present study aimed to examine the utility of a new measure for cancer prevention research, the Skin Tone Rating Scale. Australian undergraduate women (N=156) completed an online questionnaire measuring skin tone dissatisfaction, peer and media norms surrounding tanning, internalisation of a tanned ideal, appearance reasons for tanning, and self-reported tanning behaviour. The two-item Skin Tone Rating Scale provided a short and easy-to-administer measure of skin tone dissatisfaction that correlated with self-reported tanning behaviour. The Skin Tone Rating Scale was also moderately related to appearance reasons for tanning and internalisation of a tanned ideal, demonstrating concurrent validity. Socio-cultural influences (from peers and media) were positively correlated with skin tone dissatisfaction, and this relationship was partially mediated by internalisation of a tanned ideal. Although more research is needed to establish causation, this study provides an important addition to sun tanning literature; it provides a new measure to predict self-reported tanning behaviour, the Skin Tone Rating Scale, which highlights the importance of appearance concerns in relation to tanning and sun exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)168-174
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number3
    Early online date2014
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


    • Appearance
    • Skin cancer
    • Skin tone dissatisfaction
    • Sun exposure
    • Tanning


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