Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gary Kelsey


In Nigeria, skin bleaching, a practice that can create significant health problems, represents a persistent social issue. The behavior has become widespread due to unfettered access to various brands of bleaching creams. The purpose of this study was to gather data to (a) seek an understanding of the deeper motivations underlying the decision to engage in skin bleaching or skin whitening among female tertiary students and (b) examine the awareness among such students of public policy on skin bleaching creams. The case study qualitative research design was employed to enable skin bleaching cream users to share their motivations and experiences. A purposeful sampling method was used to select 18 participants from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. This study applied the narrative policy framework and rational choice theory to gain an understanding of the experiences of this population. Data were collected using 7 semistructured open-ended interviews. Analysis of data was done using both manual and software coding to identify themes and patterns. Thematic analysis of the data confirmed prior findings on motivations in that some respondents viewed the behavior as a lifestyle and individual decision. Majority of the respondents expressed vague awareness of the public policies guiding the use of skin bleaching creams. The study findings provide pertinent information to policymakers and the community at large about motivations for using bleaching creams. Ultimately, policy changes or additions may address ease of access to bleaching cream and may reduce the cost of treatment associated with long-term effects of using such cream.