Portrayal of tanning, clothing fashion and shade use in Australian women's magazines, 1987-2005

Helen G Dixon, Suzanne Jane Dobbinson, Melanie A Wakefield, Kris Jamsen, Kim Mary McLeod

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31 Citations (Scopus)


To examine modelling of outcomes relevant to sun protection in Australian women s magazines, content analysis was performed on 538 spring and summer issues of popular women s magazines from 1987 to 2005. A total of 4949 full-colour images of Caucasian females were coded for depth of tan, extent of clothing cover, use of shade and setting. Logistic regression using robust standard errors to adjust for clustering on magazine was used to assess the relationship between these outcomes and year, setting and model s physical characteristics. Most models portrayed outdoors did not wear hats (89 ) and were not in shade (87 ). Between 1987 and 2005, the proportion of models depicted wearing hats decreased and the proportion of models portrayed with moderate to dark tans declined and then later increased. Younger women were more likely to be portrayed with a darker tan and more of their body exposed. Models with more susceptible phenotypes (paler hair and eye colour) were less likely to be depicted with a darker tan. Darker tans and poor sun-protective behaviour were most common among models depicted at beaches/pools. Implicit messages about sun protection in popular Australian women s magazines contradict public health messages concerning skin cancer prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791 - 802
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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