The Psychological Record

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 149–160 | Cite as

An Initial Investigation of the Effects of Tanning-Related Cues on Demand and Craving for Indoor Tanning

  • Amel Becirevic
  • Derek D. ReedEmail author
  • Michael Amlung
Original Article


Melanoma and other skin cancers have become the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Despite the well-established link between skin cancer and indoor tanning, approximately 30 million Americans report engaging in indoor tanning each year, and the majority of these users are white females aged 16 to 29 years. Although some studies have suggested that exposure to ultraviolet radiation may produce reinforcing effects in frequent tanners paralleling the characteristic features of substance use disorders, no previous study has explored the impact of tanning-related cues on demand for tanning. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of tanning-related cues on participants’ behavioral economic demand and craving for indoor tanning. Participants were 23 undergraduate students (22 females, one male), each of whom underwent a cue-exposure procedure consisting of experiencing neutral- and tanning-related cues. Results suggest that participants exhibited an increase in behavioral economic demand and self-reported craving in the condition associated with tanning-related cues relative to neutral-cues. We conclude by discussing notable limitations and offering directions for future research.


Cue reactivity Behavioral economics Indoor tanning Demand Craving Skin cancer 



The current study was conducted by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree in Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas.

The first author expresses sincere gratitude to Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, Brent A. Kaplan, Gideon P. Naudé, Bryan T. Yanagita, and Rachel E. Jackson for their valuable feedback and guidance on previous versions of this paper.

This project was supported by the University of Kansas New Faculty General Research Fund allocation #2302290 and General Research Fund allocation #2301722. The third author’s contributions were supported by the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

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. The University of Kansas Institutional Review Board and Human Subjects Committee approved the protocol used in this study (approval #HSCL1355).

Informed Consent

Participants indicated consent by completing a consent form and clicking a button in the online survey to initiate the study tasks. The University of Kansas Institutional Review Board and Human Subjects Committee approved the informed consent method used in this study (approval #HSCL1355).


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amel Becirevic
    • 1
  • Derek D. Reed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Amlung
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavioral ScienceUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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