Counseling alone is unlikely to combat tanning addiction in adolescents; treatment that addresses the comorbid substance abuse and psychiatric issues is necessary, said Kimberly A. Miller, PhD, of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and her associates.

Of a multiethnic sample of 2,637 high school students aged 16-17 years from Los Angeles, 7% met the modified CAGE criteria for tanning addiction, a compulsive drive to use indoor tanning beds frequently. The rate was similar in Hispanic teens and non-Hispanic white adolescents (7.6% versus 7.9%, respectively). Asian and Asian American teens had the lowest prevalence of tanning addiction (4.3%), while Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders had the highest (10.5%). Slightly more females than males met the criteria (9% vs. 5%), Dr. Miller and her associates reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology .

Past 30-day tobacco and marijuana use was significantly associated with tanning addiction, and teens with problem drinking were 3.4 times as likely to meet tanning addiction criteria as were those without problem drinking. Adolescents with panic disorder symptoms were two times more likely to meet tanning addiction criteria than were those without symptoms, and those with obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms were three times more likely, Dr. Miller and associates said.

With each additional problem use of substances, the likelihood of tanning addiction was increased by 67% for adolescents; for each additional psychological symptom, this figure was 30%,” the researchers said.

Dr. Miller and her associates cited several limitations. One was the cross-sectional design of the study. Another was the study’s focus on adolescents from Los Angeles, which limits the generalizability of the findings.

The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Miller KA et al. J Investig Dermatol. 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2018.02.018.


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