NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS) — A new study from Yale University researchers reveals that tanning dependence is linked to other addictive behaviors.
The study shows that participants who exhibited a tanning addiction were six times as likely to be dependent on alcohol and three times as likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The study surveyed 499 people who previously sunbathed or used a tanning bed.
“We hope our findings will help researchers design inventions specifically targeted to help people who are tanning dependent and thus reduce skin cancers,” Dr. Brenda Cartmel, the study’s lead author and senior research scientist and lecturer in Yale’s Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, said in a statement.
Cartmel also said that those who are tanning dependent are five times more likely to exhibit “exercise addiction.”
“One hypothesis behind the finding is that people who exercise excessively do so because they are very aware of their appearance, and they also feel that being tanned improves their appearance. Or it may be that we will eventually find out that these individuals have more of an addictive or risk-taking personality type. If you have one type of dependence, you may be more likely to have another addiction,” Cartmel said.
Cartmel added that the study shows that there is an opportunity for medical professionals to address these concerns.
“People who are tanning dependent could also be assessed for SAD,” Cartmel said in a statement. “There are ways of addressing SAD other than indoor tanning. Regarding the alcohol dependence association, it may be possible that addressing that behavior could help address tanning dependence.”
The study was published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.