The validity of a new screening tool used to identify people who are addicted to indoor tanning has been confirmed in a recent study.

In background information to their study, the researchers, led by Jerod L. Stapleton of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said tools for assessing tanning addiction had been developed by adapting existing substance addiction screening tools. However, concerns had been raised about their validity, with some research suggesting assessment results did not correspond to actual tanning behaviors.

The Behavioral Addiction Indoor Tanning Screener (BAITS) screening tool was first described in the DSM-5. The tool was designed to capture the experience of diminished control and urges to use indoor tanning, the research team explained in a short communication published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica (2015 [doi: 10.2340/00015555-2290 ]).

The aim of the current study was to validate BAITS classification criteria by comparing it with the Structured Interview for Tanning Abuse and Dependence (SITAD) clinical assessment as well as indoor tanning use 6 months later.

Of the 164 participants, 81% did not agree with any BAITS items, 10% agreed with one, and 9% agreed with two or more. Those who agreed with two or more BAITS items were highly likely to be diagnosed as tanning dependent on the SITAD (73%), compared with those with one response (25%) or zero responses (1%) (P less than .001).

Participants who agreed with two or more BAITS items also reported an indoor tanning frequency at 6 months more than two and a half times higher than that of those agreeing with one item, and more than four and a half times higher than that of participants who endorsed no items.

“The BAITS represents a promising screening tool for symptoms of tanning addiction with preliminary evidence of validity,“ the research team wrote.

The BAITS could be used to identify patients in need of counseling to avoid indoor tanning, they suggested. “Although there is a lack of behavioral interventions targeted to individuals who are addicted to tanning, even brief counseling by clinicians regarding addictive behaviors, like smoking, can lead to measurable reductions in use.”

No conflicts of interest were declared. The study was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.


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