Indoor tanning is a risky behavior that dramatically increases skin cancer risk. Researchers from multiple disciplines aim to better understand this behavior to develop interventions and messages to curtail it. As such, we investigated the role of social norms and outcome expectations as predictors of tanning behavior as part of a larger test of constructs included in the Theory of Normative Social Behavior. In addition to offering additional empirical results to support theoretical claims for the importance of social norms and outcome expectations in predicting health behaviors, we offer indoor tanning-specific operationalizations in a conditional process model with the aim of assessing how content-specific measurements predict indoor tanning intentions. Results of a survey of adult indoor tanners from across the U.S. (N = 262) highlight when and how descriptive norms influence tanning intentions through the mediating roles of anticipatory socialization, injunctive norms, and health threat, and through the moderating role of mood-based tanning motivations. Implications for theory building as well as for intervention and message design are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)