Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 99–108 | Cite as

An integrated model of skin cancer risk in sexual minority males

  • Aaron J. Blashill
  • Benjamin M. Rooney
  • Kristen J. Wells


Sexual minority males are an at-risk group for developing skin cancer. Elevated rates of skin cancer among this population are thought to be driven by excess indoor tanning; however, motivations to indoor tan among this population are unknown. Theoretically, appearance-based and affect regulation motives may be proximal predictors of increased indoor tanning in this population. The current study tests an integrated biopsychosocial model of indoor tanning behaviors and future intentions among a sample of sexual minority males. Participants were 231 sexual minority males, between the age of 14 and 35 years, residing in San Diego County, California, who completed a battery of self-report questionnaires online. Constructs assessed included skin tone, perceived susceptibility to skin cancer, sociocultural pressures to tan, appearance-based motives to tan, affect regulation in regard to indoor tanning, indoor tanning behaviors over the previous 3 months, and future intentions to indoor tan. The three proposed proximal predictors of indoor tanning all displayed significant pathways; however, results varied depending upon the specific outcome measure modeled. Affect regulation was significantly associated with increased odds of indoor tanning, and future intentions to indoor tan. Increased appearance reasons to tan were significantly associated with future intentions to indoor tan, while increased appearance reasons not to tan were significantly associated with fewer number of indoor tanning sessions. Results underscore the unique pathways of affect regulation and appearance-based motives in indoor tanning behaviors. Skin cancer prevention programs focusing on sexual minority males may wish to address affect and appearance concerns.


Skin cancer Indoor tanning Sexual minority Males Appearance Affect 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Aaron J. Blashill, Benjamin M. Rooney, and Kristen J. Wells declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron J. Blashill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Benjamin M. Rooney
    • 1
  • Kristen J. Wells
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical PsychologySan DiegoUSA

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