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Talking about sunbed tanning in online discussion forums: Assertions and arguments

TAYLOR, Jennifer, Lamont, Alexandra and Murray, Michael (2017) Talking about sunbed tanning in online discussion forums: Assertions and arguments. Psychology and Health, 33 (4). pp. 518-536. ISSN 0887-0446

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Abstract or description

Objective: There is increasing evidence of both health and appearance risks associated with sunbed use. At the same time, the sunbed industry promotes the benefits of using sunbeds, and the image of a tanned skin as attractive and healthy arguably remains embedded within contemporary western culture. These tensions are played out in everyday conversations, and this paper reports a study which explored how sunbed users manage them within online discussion forums.

Design: A total of 556 posts from 13 sunbed-related threads, taken from six different UK-based online forums, were analysed thematically followed by techniques from discourse analysis.

Main outcome measures: Informed by social representations theory and discursive-rhetorical psychology, the way social representations of sunbed use are constructed, debated and disputed in online discussion forums were explored.

Results: Sunbed users drew upon numerous representations to distance and protect themselves from negativity they were confronted with in the forums, utilising a range of rhetorical, discursive strategies to help them.

Conclusion: Theoretical contributions and potential practical implications of the findings are discussed. Findings indicate, for example, that those working on campaigns and interventions in this area need to consider the wider negativity and argumentative orientation of sunbed users’ responses.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Jennifer TAYLOR
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2018 14:45
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:50
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