Indoor tanning elevates the risk for melanoma, which is now the most common cancer in US women aged 25-29. Public policies restricting access to indoor tanning by minors to reduce melanoma morbidity and mortality in teens are emerging. In the United States, the most common policy restricting indoor tanning in minors involves parents providing either written or in person consent for the minor to purchase a tanning visit. The effectiveness of this policy relies on parents being properly educated about the harms of indoor tanning to their children.
This randomized controlled trial will test the efficacy of a Facebook-delivered health communication intervention targeting mothers of teenage girls. The intervention will use health communication and behavioral modification strategies to reduce mothers’ permissiveness regarding their teenage daughters’ use of indoor tanning relative to an attention-control condition with the ultimate goal of reducing indoor tanning in both daughters and mothers.
The study is a 12-month randomized controlled trial comparing 2 conditions: an attention control Facebook private group where content will be relevant to teen health with 25% focused on prescription drug abuse, a topic unrelated to tanning; and the intervention condition will enter participants into a Facebook private group where 25% of the teen health content will be focused on indoor tanning. A cohort of 2000 mother-teen daughter dyads will be recruited to participate in this study. Only mothers will participate in the Facebook groups. Both mothers and daughters will complete measures at baseline, end of intervention (1-year) and 6 months post-intervention. Primary outcomes include mothers’ permissiveness regarding their teenage daughters’ use of indoor tanning, teenage daughters’ perception of their mothers’ permissiveness, and indoor tanning by both mothers and daughters.
The first dyad was enrolled on March 31, 2016, and we anticipate completing this study by October 2019.
This trial will deliver social media content grounded in theory and will test it in a randomized design with state-of-the-art measures. This will contribute much needed insights on how to employ social media for health behavior change and disease prevention both for indoor tanning and other health risk behaviors and inform future social media efforts by public health and health care organizations.