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Teens, Tweets, and Tanning Beds: Rethinking the Use of Social Media for Skin Cancer Prevention

  • Author(s): Falzone, AE
  • Brindis, CD
  • Chren, MM
  • Junn, A
  • Pagoto, S
  • Wehner, M
  • Linos, E
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2017 American Journal of Preventive Medicine The incidence of skin cancer is rising in the U.S., and melanoma, the deadliest form, is increasing disproportionately among young white women. Indoor tanning is a modifiable risk factor for all skin cancers and continues to be used at the highest rates in young white women. Adolescents and young adults report personal appearance–based reasons for using indoor tanning. Previous research has explored the influences on tanning bed use, including individual factors as well as relationships with peers, family, schools, media influences, legislation, and societal beauty norms. Adolescents and young adults also have high rates of social media usage, and research is emerging on how best to utilize these platforms for prevention. Social media has the potential to be a cost-effective way to reach large numbers of young people and target messages at characteristics of specific audiences. Recent prevention efforts have shown that comprehensive prevention campaigns that include technology and social media are promising in reducing rates of indoor tanning among young adults. This review examines the literature on psychosocial influences on indoor tanning among adolescents and young adults, and highlights ways in which technology and social media can be used for prevention efforts.

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