ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This study examined differences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals on a range of personality and individual difference measures. A community sample of 540 individuals from the southern German-speaking area of central Europe completed a survey consisting of measures of the Big Five personality factors, Need for Uniqueness, Self-esteem, sensation seeking, Religious and Spiritual Beliefs, Attitudes Toward Tattoos, tattoo possession, and demographics. Preliminary analyses showed that 22% of the total sample possessed at least one tattoo. Further analyses showed that, compared with non-tattooed (n = 420) individuals, tattooed participants (n = 120) had significantly higher scores on Extraversion, Experience Seeking, Need for Uniqueness, and held more positive Attitudes Toward Tattoos, although effect sizes of these group differences were generally small- to medium-sized. These results are considered in relation to the contemporary prevalence of tattoos in socioeconomically developed societies.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Psychological Reports: Mental & Physical Health
2012, 111, 1, 97-106. © Psychological Reports 2012
DOI 10.2466/09.07.21.PR0.111.4.97-106 ISSN 0033-2941
Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, London, UK
Department of Psychology, HELP University College
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods
School of Psychology, University of Vienna
Summary.—This study examined dierences between tattooed and non-tat-
tooed individuals on a range of personality and individual dierence measures. A
community sample of 540 individuals from the southern German-speaking area of
central Europe completed a survey consisting of measures of the Big Five person-
ality factors, Need for Uniqueness, Self-esteem, sensation seeking, Religious and
Spiritual Beliefs, Attitudes Toward Tattoos, tattoo possession, and demographics.
Preliminary analyses showed that 22% of the total sample possessed at least one
tattoo. Further analyses showed that, compared with non-tattooed (n = 420) indi-
viduals, tattooed participants (n = 120) had signicantly higher scores on Extraver-
sion, Experience Seeking, Need for Uniqueness, and held more positive Attitudes
Toward Tattoos, although eect sizes of these group dierences were generally
small- to medium-sized. These results are considered in relation to the contempo-
rary prevalence of tattoos in socioeconomically developed societies.
In many Western, industrialized nations, the art of tattooing has rap-
idly achieved an unprecedented mainstreaming since the early 1990s
(for a review, see Swami & Harris, 2012). For example, several research-
ers have reported that the incidence of tattooing among respondents in
North America and Europe is about 25% (Greif, Hewitt, & Armstrong,
1999; Armstrong, Roberts, Owen, & Koch, 2004; Laumann & Derick, 2006;
Stieger, Pietschnig, Kastner, Voracek, & Swami, 2010) and expected to rise
in the next decade (Anderson, 2006). Scholarly interest in the psycholo-
gy of tattooing is likewise beginning to develop, with growing interest in
motivations for obtaining a tattoo (e.g., Tiggemann & Hopkins, 2011), in-
terpersonal perceptions of tattooed individuals (e.g., Swami & Furnham,
2007), and psychological outcomes of obtaining a tattoo (Seiter & Hatch,
2005; Swami, 2011).
By far the largest body of research has focused on behavioral and in-
1Address correspondence to Jakob Pietschnig, Department of Basic Psychological Research
and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vi-
enna, Austria or e-mail (
V. Swami, et al.
dividual dierences between tattooed and non-tattooed respondents.
Broadly speaking, it is argued that the planning, permanence, and pain
involved in tattooing may reect real-world dierences between tattooed
and non-tattooed individuals (Tate & Shelton, 2008). For example, some
researchers have reported that tattoo possession is signicantly associated
with being sexually active (e.g., Carroll, Rienburgh, Roberts, & Myhre,
2002; Koch, Roberts, Armstrong, & Owen, 2010), becoming sexually ac-
tive at a younger age (Koch, Roberts, Armstrong, & Owen, 2005), and
greater willingness to engage in sexual relations in the absence of commit-
ment (Swami, 2012). Other work has shown signicant associations be-
tween tattoo possession and a range of risk-taking behaviors, such as use
of illegal substances (Carroll, et al., 2002; Brooks, Woods, Knight, & Shrier,
2003; Deschesnes, Fines, & Demers, 2006) and gang aliation among ad-
olescents (Roberts & Ryan, 2002; Deschesnes, et al., 2006). Also, a smaller
body of work has examined personality dierences between tattooed and
non-tattooed individuals, although the results of this work have tended
to be equivocal. For example, some studies have reported that tattooed
individuals have higher scores on measures of extraversion and related
traits, such as sensation seeking (Roberti, Storch, & Bravata, 2004; Stirn,
Hinz, & Brahler, 2006; Wohlrab, Stahl, Rammseyer, & Kappeler, 2007; Swa-
mi, 2012), but other studies yielded statistically non-signicant ndings
(Forbes, 2001; Tate & Shelton, 2008). In a similar vein, some researchers
have reported that tattooed individuals have lower scores on measures on
conscientiousness and agreeableness (Tate & Shelton, 2008), but the latter
association has not been found in at least one further study (Swami, 2012).
Related research has suggested that tattooed individuals have signi-
cantly higher Need for Uniqueness and distinctive appearance investment
compared with non-tattooed individuals (Tiggemann & Golder, 2006; Tate
& Shelton, 2008; Tiggemann & Hopkins, 2011; Swami, 2012). Nevertheless,
it should be noted that where signicant dierences have been reported,
these have tended to be small and the extent to which such dierences
have real-world implications has been questioned (Tate & Shelton, 2008).
One reason for the equivocal nature of these ndings may be related to
problems with sampling: with few exceptions, in most studies in which
dierences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals have been ex-
amined have relied on college samples, which have low generalizability.
The present study sought to examine whether there are dierences
between non-tattooed and tattooed individuals recruited from the com-
munity in the southern German-speaking region of central Europe. Pre-
vious work has suggested that the prevalence of tattoos in a sample from
this region is relatively high (about 15%; Stieger, et al., 2010), which makes
this a useful sample to investigate. Specically, in the present study, tat-
tooed and non-tattooed individuals were compared on their Big Five per-
sonality traits, Need for Uniqueness, sensation seeking, Self-esteem, Spiri-
tual Beliefs, and Attitudes Toward Tattoos.
In all, 540 individuals (54.4% women; age M = 31.4 yr., SD = 13.7) from
the community participated in the present study. Participants were, for
the most part, from Austria (87.4%), whereas 9.1% reported being German
or of another nationality (3.5%). In terms of marital status, 37.2% were
single, more than half of the participants were in a relationship (38.1%) or
married (21.1%), 3.0% were divorced, and 0.6% widowed. As to highest
educational qualication, 5.6% had completed primary education, 21.9%
had nished their apprenticeship or vocational schooling, 51.0% reported
having completed secondary education, 18.6% had a university degree,
and 3.0% reported some other kind of highest educational qualication.
Big Five Factors of personality.—The Mini–IPIP (Goldberg, 1999) was
used in order to assess the Big Five Factors of personality. This scale com-
prises ve subscales (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience,
Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) and requires participants to rate
the extent of their agreement with each of 20 statements using a rating
scale with anchors of 1: Strongly disagree and 5: Strongly agree.
Need for uniqueness.—Participants’ need to stand out from others was
measured using the Need for Uniqueness Scale (Snyder & Fromkin, 1977).
On this scale, participants were asked to indicate their agreement on each
of 32 items on a 5-point scale with anchors 1: Strongly disagree and 5:
Strongly agree.
Sensation seeking.—Version V of the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS–V;
Zuckerman, Eysenck, & Eysenck, 1978; German form: Beauducel, Strobel,
& Brocke, 2003) was used to assess participants on the ve domains com-
prising this construct (Boredom Susceptibility, Disinhibition, Experience
Seeking, Thrill and Adventure Seeking). Participants rated a total of 40
items for agreement on a 6-point scale with anchors of 0 and 5: Totally
agree, 1 and 4: Fairly agree, 2 and 3: Somewhat agree (see Voracek, Tran,
& Dressler, 2010, for utilization of this reliability-increasing response for-
Self-esteem.—The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg,
1965; German form: von Collani & Herzberg, 2003) is the most widely
used measure of Self-esteem. Participants rated its total of 10 items for
agreement on a 4-point Likert-type scale with anchors of 1: Strongly dis-
agree and 4: Strongly agree.
V. Swami, et al.
Religious and spiritual beliefs.—The Systems of Beliefs Scale (SBI–15R;
Holland, Kash, Passik, Gronert, Sison, Lederberg, et al., 1998; German
form: Albani, Bailer, Blaser, Geyer, Brähler, & Grulke, 2002) was given to
assess participants’ attitudes towards their Religious and Spiritual Beliefs.
On this scale, 15 items were rated on a 4-point Likert-type scale with an-
chors of 1: Strongly disagree and 4: Strongly agree, yielding two subscales,
namely Attitudes Towards Beliefs and Practices and Attitudes Towards
Social Support.
General attitudes toward tattoos.—Participants’ were asked to rate their
general Attitudes Toward Tattoos on a semantic dierential comprising
eight pairs of characteristics on a 7-point scale with the rst word of each
item reecting a more positive attitude towards tattoos (beautiful vs ugly,
unique vs common, conformant vs rebellious, status symbol vs stigmati-
zation, socially acceptable vs socially unacceptable, makes sense vs does
not make sense, good vs bad, aggressive vs not aggressive). Then, an over-
all score was computed by taking the mean of all eight items, with higher
scores reecting more negative Attitudes Toward Tattoos. Reliabilities for
the used scales in the present sample are provided in the last column of
Table 1.
Demographics.—Participants were asked to provide basic demograph-
ic information, namely sex, age, nationality, marital status, highest edu-
cational qualication, and religious aliation. Additionally, participants
self-reported whether they were tattooed or not (see Stieger, et al., 2010).
When they reported having at least one tattoo, they were asked to state
how many tattoos in total they had across several body locations. For the
present purposes, we computed the sum of tattoos for each participant.
For two scales (MINI–IPIP, Need for Uniqueness) German forms were
not available, so the scales were translated into German by the second
to last authors using the parallel-blind technique (Behling & Law, 2000).
Using this approach, the authors translated the scales independently of
each other, subsequently comparing their respective translations. Disput-
ed translations were resolved through discussion. Participants were re-
cruited opportunistically by research assistants through their personal
contacts. Participation was anonymous, voluntary, and without remuner-
ation. After completion of the questionnaire, participants were verbally
Prevalence of Tattoos
Overall, 140 of the total sample of 540 (i.e., 22.2%) participants report-
ed having at least one tattoo. Among tattooed participants, the number of
descRiptive statistics and Results of Between-gRoups coMpaRisons foR all study vaRiaBles
Variable Nontattooed Tattooed Women Men Omnibus
Main Eect of
Main Eect
of Sex
Interaction Internal
Extraversion 3.38 0.80 3.62 0.70 3.48 0.77 3.38 0.80 4.38.02 10.15.02 0.13 < .01 1.81 < .01 .75
Agreeableness 4.02 0.70 4.03 0.68 4.22 0.61 3.79 0.71 18.81.09 0.04 < .01 36.19.06 0.12 < .01 .76
Conscientiousness 3.57 0.74 3.51 0.81 3.59 0.74 3.51 0.78 0.81 < .01 0.62 < .01 1.66 < .01 0.08 < .01 .60
Neuroticism 2.76 0.80 2.66 0.76 2.88 0.76 2.56 0.80 9.60.05 1.13 < .01 8.19.02 3.98 < .01 .67
Openness 3.75 0.76 3.78 0.69 3.68 0.76 3.84 0.73 2.86* .01 0.09 < .01 1.97 < .01 1.74 < .01 .69
Self-esteem 3.34 0.53 3.46 0.45 3.32 0.55 3.42 0.47 3.70* .02 5.58* .01 2.95 < .01 0.13 < .01 .87
Need for Uniqueness 3.18 0.41 3.44 0.37 3.19 0.43 3.30 0.39 17.83.09 37.29.07 5.48* .01 1.50 < .01 .79
Thrill and Adventure
3.85 1.20 4.06 1.13 3.64 1.11 4.20 1.21 11.75.06 4.40* < .01 27.23.05 1.22 < .01 .86
Experience Seeking 3.84 0.82 4.17 0.77 3.92 0.80 3.92 0.85 5.00.02 14.37.03 0.01 < .01 0.03 < .01 .68
Disinhibition 3.48 0.89 3.69 0.84 3.37 0.85 3.71 0.88 10.10.05 7.79.02 23.55.04 3.25 < .01 .77
Boredom Susceptibility 3.09 0.69 3.23 0.71 2.98 0.68 3.30 0.68 11.11.05 4.63* .01 20.88.04 0.01 < .01 .57
Religious Beliefs and
1.92 0.84 1.70 0.75 1.95 0.83 1.78 0.80 4.74.02 5.82* .01 1.85 < .01 1.56 < .01 .94
Social Support 1.71 0.72 1.52 0.62 1.62 0.67 1.72 0.75 5.33.02 4.67* .01 7.54.01 6.59* .01 .82
General Attitudes
Toward Tattoos
4.30 0.91 3.25 0.69 4.09 0.94 4.05 1.00 101.12.20 139.12.21 1.66 < .01 0.56 < .01 .73
Note.—R² = corrected explained variance. *p < .05. p < .01. p < .001.
V. Swami, et al.
tattoos per individual ranged from one to 15, with a mean of 2.7 (SD = 3,
Mdn = 1.5, Mode = 1). There was no statistically signicant dierence be-
tween tattooed women (n = 70) and men (n = 50; 23.8 vs 20.3% respective-
ly reported having at least one tattoo) in the number of tattoos they pos-
sessed (Mann-Whitney U11 0 = 1,390.5, Z = −0.53, p = .60; 209 vs 262 tattoos,
Preliminary Between-groups Comparisons
Preliminary analyses showed that there were no statistically signi-
cant dierences in mean age between tattooed and non-tattooed partici-
pants (t538 = 0.59, p = .55, d = 0.05). In addition, there were no signicant dif-
ferences between tattooed (n = 120) and non-tattooed groups (n = 420) in
the distribution of sex, nationality, marital status, and highest educational
qualication (Table 2).
Between-groups Comparisons
Next, it was examined whether there were dierences on key vari-
ables between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals. To do so, 2 (tattoo
status: tattooed versus non-tattooed) × 2 (sex: women versus men) analy-
ses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted with the Big Five personal-
ity factors, Self-esteem, Need for Uniqueness, the sensation seeking sub-
scales, the systems of beliefs subscales, and the general attitude towards
tattoo score, respectively, as dependent variables. To control for Type
I error, a Bonferroni correction was applied, such that alpha was set at
.05/14 = .004.
Means and standard deviations and the results of all ANOVAs are
reported in Table 1. As can be seen, none of the tattoo status by sex in-
teractions reached statistical signicance following Bonferroni correction,
which led us to examine the main eects. Following Bonferroni correc-
tions, there were signicant main eects of tattoo status on Extraversion,
Need for Uniqueness, the Experience Seeking subscale of the SSS–V, and
the general attitude toward tattoos. In the rst three cases, tattooed indi-
viduals had higher scores than non-tattooed individuals, whereas in the
latter case, tattooed individuals had more positive Attitudes Toward Tat-
toos than non-tattooed individuals. There were also statistically signi-
coMpaRisons Between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals
χ2df p φ
Sex 0.94 1.33 < .001
Nationality 1.27 2 .53 < .001
Marital status 2.17 4 .70 .009
Highest educational qualication 8.79 5 .12 .016
cant main eects of sex on Agreeableness and three of the four subscales
of the SSS–V.
The present results showed that there were a number of statistical-
ly signicant dierences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals
in terms of their personality and individual-dierence traits. Specically,
those tattooed had signicantly higher scores than non-tattooed individ-
uals on Extraversion, Need for Uniqueness, and the Experience Seeking
subscale of the SSS–V. In addition, compared with non-tattooed individ-
uals, tattooed participants also had signicantly more positive Attitudes
Toward Tattoos, which is unsurprising. These results are discussed in
greater detail below.
In terms of the Big Five, present results corroborate previous work
showing that tattooed individuals scored more extraverted than non-
tattooed individuals (e.g., Stirn, et al., 2006; Wohlrab, et al., 2007; Swami,
2012). Moreover, tattooed participants had higher scores on a subscale of
sensation seeking, which was related to the trait of Extraversion (see Ey-
senck, 1990). Importantly, however, there were no statistically signicant
dierences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals on the remain-
ing Big Five factors, which stands in contrast to some previous work (e.g.,
Tate & Shelton, 2008). Overall, then, converging evidence appears to sug-
gest that tattooed individuals score more extraverted than non-tattooed
individuals, with this contrast being driven by their sensation seeking
The present results also corroborate previous work showing that tat-
tooed individuals have higher Need for Uniqueness than non-tattooed in-
dividuals (Tiggemann & Golder, 2006; Tiggemann & Hopkins, 2011; Swa-
mi, 2012). In general, these results support the idea that tattoos are now
used as a means of self-expression or construction of identity. Specically,
in societies in which the body is increasingly commodied, tattoos may
aord some individuals an opportunity to mark the self as being dier-
ent and thereby attain improved self-perceptions of uniqueness (Swami,
2011). Put dierently, tattoos may now be an important means through
which individuals can develop unique identities, particularly in the ap-
pearance domain (Tiggemann & Hopkins, 2011).
Although the results suggest that there are statistically signicant dif-
ferences between tattooed and non-tattooed participants in a number of
examined variables, it should be noted that the eect sizes of observed dif-
ferences were generally small. Specically, eect sizes of dierences were
smallest for Extraversion and Experience seeking (ηp
2 = .02–.03), slightly
larger for Need for Uniqueness (ηp
2 = .07), and largest for Attitudes To-
ward Tattoos (ηp
2 = .21). As discussed by Tate and Shelton (2008), real-
V. Swami, et al.
world implications of such and mostly small dierences between tattooed
and non-tattooed individuals may well be negligible. Moreover, present
results suggest no statistically signicant dierences between tattooed
and non-tattooed individuals on a number of other variables, including
Self-esteem and Religious and Spiritual Beliefs. However, small eect siz-
es of dierences may well be due to secular trends in types of body orna-
mentation and rising prevalence rates of tattoos (e.g., Armstrong & Kelly,
2001; Stieger, et al., 2010) thus reecting increased acceptance of tattoos in
the general population and, in consequence, levelling o of dierences.
The main limitation of this study is that, although we were able to
avoid relying on college samples, it is possible the recruitment technique
introduced sampling biases. In any case, the sample should not be consid-
ered representative of the wider population and should not be extrapo-
lated to other German-speaking regions of Europe. In addition, a limited
number of variables were included in this study. So it is possible that this
limited range masks other, more important dierences between tattooed
and non-tattooed individuals. Given the cross-sectional nature of the de-
sign, inferring causation in the present instance (e.g., to say that extrav-
ertive scorers will be more likely to obtain a tattoo) is not possible.
These limitations notwithstanding, the present results suggest there
are statistically signicant, albeit for the most part small, dierences be-
tween tattooed and non-tattooed individuals on a small number of per-
sonality and individual dierence traits. Given the rapid mainstreaming
of tattoos in socioeconomically developed societies (including almost a
quarter of participants in the present study), ndings such as those report-
ed here may prove useful for scholars seeking to understand motivations
for obtaining a tattoo. That is, an individual dierences approach may
help scholars identify certain proles of individuals who are more likely
to obtain a tattoo, which can only add to research in which motivational
aspects of tattooing have been approached from a sociological perspective
(e.g., Kosut, 2006).
alBani, c., BaileR, h., BlaseR, g., geyeR, M., BRähleR, e., & gRulke, n. (2002) [Reli-
gious and spiritual beliefs: validation of the German version of the “Systems of
Beliefs Inventory” (SBI-15R-D) by Holland, et al. in a population-based sample].
Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, Medizinische Psychologie, 52, 306-313. [in German]
andeRson, R. R. (2006) Commentary: tattoos and body piercing. Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology, 55, 422.
aRMstRong, M. l., & kelly, l. (2001) Tattooing, body piercing, and branding are on
the rise: perspectives for school nurses. The Journal of School Nursing, 17, 12-23.
aRMstRong, M. l., RoBeRts, a. e., owen, d. c., & koch, J. R. (2004) Toward building
a composite of college student inuences with body art. Issues in Comprehensive
Pediatric Nursing, 27, 277-295.
Beauducel, a., stRoBel, a., & BRocke, B. (2003) [Psychometric properties and norms of
a German version of the sensation seeking scales, form V]. Diagnostica, 49, 61-72.
[in German]
Behling, o., & law, k. s. (2000) Translating questionnaires and other research instruments:
problems and solutions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
BRooks, t. l., woods, e. R., knight, J. R., & shRieR, l. a. (2003) Body modication and
substance use in adolescents: is there a link? Journal of Adolescent Health, 32, 44-49.
caRRoll, s. t., RiffenBuRgh, R. h., RoBeRts, t. a., & MyhRe, e. B. (2002) Tattoos and
body piercings as indicators of adolescent risk-taking behaviors. Pediatrics, 109,
deschesnes, M., fines, p., & deMeRs, s. (2006) Are tattooing and body piercing indica-
tors of risk-taking behaviours among high school students? Journal of Adolescence,
29, 379-393.
eysenck, h. J. (1990) Biological dimensions of personality. In L. A. Pervin (Ed.), Hand-
book of personality: theory and research. New York: Guilford. Pp. 244-276.
foRBes, g. B. (2001) College students with tattoos and piercings: motives, family ex-
periences, personality factors, and perception by others. Psychological Reports, 89,
goldBeRg, l. R. (1999) A broad-bandwidth, public-domain, personality inventory
measuring the lower-level facets of several ve-factor models. In I. Mervielde, I.
J. Deary, F. De Fruyt, & F. Ostendorf (Eds.), Personality Psychology in Europe. Vol. 7.
Tilburg, The Netherlands: Tilburg Univer. Press. Pp. 7-28.
gReif, J., hewitt, w., & aRMstRong, M. l. (1999) Tattooing and body piercing: body art
practices among college students. Clinical Nursing Research, 8, 368-385.
holland, J. c., kash, k. M., passik, s., gRoneRt, M. k., sison, a., ledeRBeRg, M., Russak, s.
M., BaideR, l., & fox, B. (1998) A brief Spiritual Beliefs Inventory for use in qual-
ity of life research in life-threatening illness. Psycho-Oncology, 7, 460-469.
koch, J. R., RoBeRts, a. e., aRMstRong, M. l., & owen, d. c. (2005) College students,
tattoos, and sexual activity. Psychological Reports, 97, 887-890.
koch, J. R., RoBeRts, a. e., aRMstRong, M. l., & owen, d. c. (2010) Body art, deviance,
and American college students. Social Science Journal, 47, 151-161.
kosut, M. (2006) An ironic fad: the commodication and consumption of tattoos. The
Journal of Popular Culture, 39, 1035-1048.
lauMann, a. e., & deRick, a. J. (2006) Tattoos and body piercings in the United States:
a national data set. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 55, 413-421.
RoBeRti, J. w., stoRch, e. a., & BRavata, e. a. (2004) Sensation seeking, exposure to
psychological stressors, and body modications in a college population. Personal-
ity and Individual Dierences, 37, 1167-1177.
RoBeRts, t. a., & Ryan, s. a. (2002) Tattooing and high-risk behavior in adolescents.
Pediatrics, 110, 1058-1063.
RosenBeRg, M. (1965) Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
Univer. Press.
seiteR, J. s., & hatch, s. (2005) Eect of tattoos on perceptions of credibility and at-
tractiveness. Psychological Reports, 96, 1113-1120.
snydeR, c. R., & fRoMkin, h. l. (1977) Abnormality as a positive characteristic: the
development and validation of a scale measuring need for uniqueness. Journal of
Abnormal Psychology, 86, 518-527.
V. Swami, et al.
stiegeR, s., pietschnig, J., kastneR, c. k., voRacek, M., & swaMi, v. (2010) Prevalence
and acceptance of tattoos and piercings: a survey of young adults from the south-
ern German-speaking area of southern Europe. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 110,
stiRn, a., hinz, a., & BRahleR, e. (2006) Prevalence of tattooing and body piercing
in Germany and perception of health, mental disorders, and sensation seeking
among tattooed and body-pierced individuals. Journal of Psychosomatic Research,
60, 531-534.
swaMi, v. (2011) Marked for life? A prospective study of tattoos on appearance anxi-
ety and dissatisfaction, perceptions of uniqueness, and self-esteem. Body Image, 8,
swaMi, v. (2012) Written on the body? An examination of the personalities and indi-
vidual dierences of British adults who do and do not obtain a rst tattoo. Un-
published manuscript.
swaMi, v., & fuRnhaM, a. (2007) Unattractive, promiscuous, and heavy drinkers: per-
ceptions of women with tattoos. Body Image, 4, 343-352.
swaMi, v., & haRRis, a. s. (2012) Body art (tattoos and piercings). In T. Cash (Ed.), En-
cylopedia of human appearance and body image. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
tate, J. c., & shelton, B. l. (2008) Personality correlates of tattooing and body pierc-
ing in a college sample: the kids are alright. Personality and Individual Dierences,
45, 281-285.
tiggeMann, M., & goldeR, f. (2006) Tattooing: an expression of uniqueness in the ap-
pearance domain. Body Image, 3, 309-315.
tiggeMann, M., & hopkins, s. (2011) Tattoos and piercings: bodily expressions of
uniqueness? Body Image, 8, 245-250.
von collani, g., & heRzBeRg, p. y. (2003) [A revised version of the German adapta-
tion of Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale]. Zeitschrift für Dierentielle und Diagnostische
Psychologie, 24, 3-7. [in German]
voRacek, M., tRan, u. s., & dRessleR, s. g. (2010) Digit ratio (2D:4D) and sensation
seeking: new data and meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Dierences, 48, 72-
wohlRaB, s., stahl, J., RaMMsayeR, t., & kappeleR, p. M. (2007) Dierences in personal-
ity characteristics between body modied and nonmodied individuals and pos-
sible evolutionary implications. European Journal of Personality, 21, 931-951.
zuckeRMan, M., eysenck, s. B. g., & eysenck, h. J. (1978) Sensation seeking in England
and America: cross-cultural, age, and sex comparisons. Journal of Consulting and
Clinical Psychology, 46, 139-149.
Accepted July 18, 2012.
... Wytatuowani ludzie w porównaniu z osobami bez modyfikacji ciała częściej prezentują wyższe wyniki na skali ekstrawersji, poszukiwania doświadczeń oraz silniej deklarują potrzebę bycia wyjątkowym [15]. Kobiety z tatuażami -w porównaniu z kobietami bez tatuażu -wyrażają większą chęć do angażowania się w niezobowiązujące relacje seksualne, a także większe poparcie dla egalitaryzmu i poszukiwania doznań [16]. ...
... Wytatuowanych dorosłych charakteryzuje buntowniczość, złość i agresja werbalna [19]. Jednakże badacze w swoich analizach coraz częściej ujawniają niewielkie efekty obserwowanych różnic, które niekoniecznie świadczą o dysfunkcjonalnym charakterze owych cech, a tym bardziej o patologii wytatuowanych osób [15]. ...
... Osoby, które posiadały modyfikacje ciała, nie różniły się w sposób znaczący od osób bez takich modyfikacji pod względem samooceny [15,35], co potwierdzono w niniejszym badaniu. Jest wysoce prawdopodobne, że w związku z dużą liczebnością grup oraz wysoką mocą statystyczną zastosowanych testów wykazane różnice mię- dzygrupowe w samoocenie własnego funkcjonowania były przypadkowe [32]. ...
Full-text available
Cel pracy Tatuaż i kolczykowanie ciała stają się coraz bardziej popularne. Psychologiczne podejście do takich modyfikacji ciała wciąż pozostaje heterogeniczne. Celem niniejszej replikacji było oszacowanie poziomu satysfakcji z życia i samooceny oraz ujawnienie subiektywnie doświadczanych objawów zaburzeń zdrowia psychicznego u osób, które deklarowały posiadanie tatuażu i/lub piercingu w trakcie epidemii koronawirusa. Metoda Badania zostały przeprowadzone w okresie od kwietnia do czerwca 2020 w formie on-line. Uczestnicy (N = 557) byli w wieku 15-68 lat. Wyniki Nie stwierdzono istotnych różnic w postrzeganej satysfakcji z życia, samoocenie i ocenie zdrowia psychicznego pomiędzy osobami z modyfikacjami ciała i bez nich. Ujawnione różnice w wymiarach samooceny oraz ilości subiektywnie odczuwanych objawów depresji okazały się mieć charakter przypadkowy. Wnioski Wszyscy uczestnicy badania (niezależnie od posiadania modyfikacji ciała) mieli świadomość posiadania i umięjętności wykorzystania zasobów osobistych, by radzić sobie z sytuacją pandemii COVID-19. Modyfikacje ciała nie należy traktować jako czynnik ryzyka. Szczególnie wśród osób wytatuowanych wraz ze wzrostem satysfakcji z życia wzrastała samoocena funkcjonowania psychologicznego.
... njem, antisocijalnim poremećajem ličnosti, te samoozljeđivanjem. Studija Swamija i sur., na uzorku od 450 ispitanika iz središnje Europe, pokazala je da tetovirani pojedinci u odnosu na netetovirane u testovima ličnosti češće pokazuju znakove ekstrovertiranosti, traženja novih iskustava i potrebe za osjećajem posebnosti (15). ...
... Measey je pokazao da vjerojatnost prisutnosti poremećaja ličnosti kod nositelja tetovaža ra-Tattoos are usually associated with certain personality characteristics, risky behaviour, antisocial personality disorder, and self-harming. Swami et al. conducted a study on a sample of 450 respondents from Central Europe and found that in personality tests tattooed individuals were more likely than non-tattooed individuals to show signs of extroversion, seek new experiences, and express a need to feel special (15). Similar personality traits in tattooed individuals were found in a study conducted by Tate and Shelton on the student population. ...
Full-text available
Tetovaže su prisutne u gotovo svakom dijelu svijeta, kao i u gotovo svakom razdoblju povijesti. Njihova se uloga mijenjala tijekom povijesti, od funkcije obilježavanja prijestupnika preko omogućavanja međusobnog prepoznavanja pripadnika određenih zajednica do konačne uloge ukrašavanja tijela i popratne ekspresije emocija i stajališta. Premda su nositelji tetovaža nekoć bili izrazito stigmatizirani, taj se trend znatno promijenio te trenutno svjedočimo naglom porastu popularnosti tetoviranja. Opisani su brojni razlozi za tetoviranje, od potrebe za uljepšavanjem, iskazivanjem individualnosti ili ekspresijom emocija do označavanja pripadnosti različitim društvenim skupinama ili pak izražavanja otpora prema autoritetu. Tetovaže su povezane i s nekim psihijatrijskim poremećajima. Među tetoviranom populacijom veća je učestalost disocijalnog poremećaja ličnosti, zlouporabe droga i alkohola te graničnog i drugih poremećaja ličnosti. Ipak, one dopuštaju pojedincu izražavanje osjećaja, vrijednosti i stavova, kao i održavanje pozitivne slike vlastitog identiteta. U ovom je radu opisan bolesnik s brojnim tetovažama, njihovo značenje u tijeku liječenja pacijenta te važnost koje tetovaže imaju za njega. Posebna je pažnja obraćena tetovaži zgrade Klinike za psihijatriju Vrapče, gdje je pacijent hospitaliziran u više navrata, kojom je nastojao izraziti zahvalnost za pruženo liječenje. / Tattoos are present in almost every part of the world, as well as in almost every period of history. The role of tattoos has changed throughout history, from marking offenders and enabling the members of a particular community to recognize each other to the ultimate role of adorning the body and thus expressing certain emotions or attitudes. Although tattoo wearers were once highly stigmatized, this trend has changed significantly and we are currently witnessing a sharp rise in the popularity of tattooing. Many reasons for tattooing have been described, ranging from the need to beautify, express individuality or emotions to the need to mark one's affiliation to various social groups or to express resistance to authority. Tattoos are also linked to certain psychiatric disorders. In the tattooed population, the incidence of dissocial personality disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, and borderline and other personality disorders is higher. Yet, tattoos allow the individual to express their feelings, values and attitudes, as well as to maintain a positive image of their own identity. This paper describes a patient with numerous tattoos, their meaning during the treatment of the patient as well as the importance that tattoos have for him. Special attention was paid to the tattoo of the building of the University Psychiatric Hospital Vrapče, where the patient was hospitalized on several occasions, since this tattoo was the patient's attempt to express gratitude for the treatment provided.
... 20 In addition differences in personality traits have been demonstrated between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals and this may include increased anger and verbal aggression in the former. 21,22 While it has been suggested that individuals with multiple tattoos may have certain differences such as personality disorders, 8 the current study has demonstrated that the number of tattoos did not have an effect on the likelihood of a specific manner of death in a medicolegal context, despite a trend for this being observed in earlier work. 16 Specifically the percentage of unnatural deaths in the study group of individuals with five or more tattoos of 48% was not statistically different to a control group of non-tattooed individuals from the same medicolegal population of 44% (p = 0.3). ...
A prospective study was undertaken of 150 medicolegal cases where five or more tattoos were identified in anatomically separate areas. All cases were the subject of full police and coronial investigations with examination by forensic pathologists. There were 120 males and 30 females (M:F = 4:1) with an age range of 22–86 years (mean = 48.1 years). 78 cases were found where deaths were due to natural diseases (52%) (age range 27–82 years; mean 55.3 years; M:F = 4.2:1). 72 cases (48%) were found where deaths were classified as unnatural – 23 drug/alcohol related, 37 suicides, 12 accidents and 0 homicides (age range 20–66 years; mean 39.8 years; M:F = 3.8:1). This distribution was not shown to be statistically different to a control group of 100 non-tattooed individuals where there were 56 natural and 44 unnatural deaths (p = 0.3). Thus, although certain types of tattoos may be associated with an increased number of unnatural deaths in a medicolegal environment, the actual number of tattoos appears to have minimal effect.
... To adorn the body is perceived as enhancing one's individuality that gives a greater sense of sexual attractiveness (Antoszewski et al., 2010). Tattooed individuals have a greater need to invest in a distinctive appearance, as it is a form of personal expression that gives a sense of authenticity (Swami et al., 2012). This has given rise to custom tattoo designs, which is often a collaboration between artist and consumer to express a unique interpretation of life experiences (Mee Mun et al., 2012). ...
Full-text available
This is the next book in the scientific book series entitled "Advances in biomedical research". This book series is the result of the meetings and work of scientists from various universities and institutes in Poland. In this monograph we present the topics in Biomedical Research from 2021. All presented articles have passed the peer-review process positively. The articles come from various fields of biomedicine from Cell-inCell phenomena throughout cancer research to skin disorders. Wishing you enjoyable and productive reading. Editors, L.Bialy, I Mlynarczuk-Bialy
Full-text available
Tatuajes. Contextos, historia, prácticas y formación profesional, invita a un recorrido dentro del mundo del arte corporal. La historia de una práctica ancestral en diversas culturas alrededor del mundo, que a través del tiempo se ha visto desprovista de sus significados originales. El tatuaje, se ha sobrepuesto ha diversos reveses a lo largo del tiempo, hasta llegar a la actualidad, donde logra relativa aceptación hasta volverse tendencia. En estas páginas, se presentan los orígenes de la práctica, su percepción cultural en épocas pasadas alrededor del globo, su retorno a occidente y como ha ganado espacio en nuestro país. Además, puede encontrar los mitos y verdades que rodean a esta milenaria costumbre. Asimismo, se exponen las particularidades de su ejecución por si algún aficionado tiene la expectativa de convertir su afición en profesión.
Full-text available
This study aimed at identifying motivations, risk behavior and social practices, comparing tattooed and non-tattooed women. 316 women (50% tattooed) were surveyed online, answering questions on sociodemographic data, social practices, motivations, and risk behavior. Data collection strategies included snow-balling, social networks, personal contact, and visits to tattoo parlors. The main results indicate that the majority of women express satisfaction with their physical appearance after getting tattooed, and wouldn’t get the tattoo removed. Being tattooed correlated with risk behaviors such as casual sex with unknown people, alcohol and drug use, and psychopathology. The sample presented more similarities than differences between tattooed and non-tattooed groups, suggesting that growing popularization and social acceptance of tattooing has led to a decrease of the differences between the groups. Such results may inform future research and the production of informative materials aimed at demystifying negative stereotypes associated to tattoos.
In previous years individuals with tattoos were thought to have a higher rate of mental illness and risk taking behaviour. With the widespread adoption of tattoos in Western countries in recent years this negative association has been questioned. An issue which arises, however, is that "tattooing" is a heterogeneous activity that covers a wide spectrum of designs and motivations. To examine the characteristics of individuals presenting to medicolegal autopsy with "expletive tattoos" 19 individuals with tattoos that contained selected obscene words were compared to controls. Fifteen cases (79%) were found where deaths were classified as unnatural - 7 drug/alcohol related, 5 suicides, 2 accidents and 1 homicide. The decedents had an age range of 21-58 years, mean 39.7 years, with a male to female ratio of 14:1. Compared to controls there was a significantly increased number of unnatural deaths in the group with expletive tattoos (p < 0.01), with a tendency to involve males. This study has shown that expletive tattoos in a forensic context may be associated with unnatural and violent deaths, and that the study of particular subgroups of tattooed individuals may be useful in discerning specific trends that are unclear if "tattoos" are treated as a homogeneous phenomenon.
Full-text available
This paper attempts to examine how people with visible body-art (tattoos and piercings) are perceived in today’s society. Two main research questions were addressed: 1. Are there prejudices towards visible body-art which exist in the service industry? 2. Does visible body-art affect the career opportunities in the service industry? In order to answer these questions three groups of respondents were approached: employers, employees, and customers. The research project took into consideration the views of twelve service organisations and their managers to gain an insight into their opinions, existing regulations and recruitment policies. Eight tattooed and pierced professionals were interviewed to find out more about their life experiences with visible body-art. Lastly, a group of one hundred and eighty-eight respondents was also surveyed to gauge their reactions on the subject. The study exposes latent stereotyping and stigma that exists amongst the respondents, albeit to a small extent. It also shows that barring a few organisations, many companies hired employees with visible body-art although with a strong focus on hygiene and aesthetics. The survey reveals a some positive views of body-art and shows that stereotypes are slowly changing to acceptance.
Full-text available
RESUMO O uso de tatuagens está presente em diversos segmentos das camadas sociais e tem chamado à atenção de pesquisadores nas ciências sociais ou médicas. Tendo em vista sua importância, principalmente para os jovens, objetivou-se analisar se existem relações entre o uso de tatuagem, atos infracionais e os fatores da personalidade em jovens com e sem conflito com a lei. Participaram 64 jovens, sendo majoritariamente do sexo masculino, residentes na grande João Pessoa, com idades entre 12 a 21 anos. Os resultaram indicaram uma relação do uso da tatuagem com agradabilidade (ρ =-0,28; p< 0,05); extroversão (ρ =0,40; p< 0,01); estabilidade emocional (ρ =-0,38; p< 0,01) e abertura às experiências (ρ =0,24; p< 0, 05). E uma correlação positiva com atos infracionais (ρ = 0,56; p< 0,01). Neste sentido, o uso da tatuagem é mais um fator importante para se entender a personalidade e os comportamentos antissociais. PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Uso de tatuagem. Personalidade. Atos infracionais.
Full-text available
After a long history of negative stigmatisation, the practices of tattooing and body piercing have become fashionable in the last decade. Today, 10% of the population in modern western societies have some form of body modification. The aim of this study was to quantify the demographic and personality traits of tattooed and pierced individuals and to compare them with a control group of individuals without body modifications. These comparisons are based on questionnaires completed by 359 individuals that investigate the details of body modification, and which incorporate five personality scales. We describe several sex differences in ornament style and location. We found no relevant differences between modified and non-modified individuals in relation to demographic variables. This indicates that some of the traditional attitudes towards tattoos and piercings appear to be outdated. However, we found striking differences in personality traits which suggest that body-modified individuals are greater sensation seekers and follow a more unrestricted mating strategy than their non-modified contemporaries. We discuss these differences in light of a potential signalling function of tattoos and piercings in the mating context. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Full-text available
This research examines the relationship between body art (tattoos and piercings) and deviance. With the increasing mainstream presence of visible tattoos and piercings among entertainers, athletes, and even in corporate boardrooms, we wonder the extent to which long-time enthusiasts and collectors regard the phenomenon as encroachment. We use sub-cultural identity theory to propose that individuals with increasing evidence of body art procurement will also report higher levels of deviant behavior in order to maintain and/or increase social distance from the mainstream. We tested this proposition by surveying 1753 American college students, asking them to report their level of body art acquisition and their history of deviance. Results indicate that respondents with four or more tattoos, seven or more body piercings, or piercings located in their nipples or genitals, were substantively and significantly more likely to report regular marijuana use, occasional use of other illegal drugs, and a history of being arrested for a crime. Less pronounced, but still significant in many cases, was an increased propensity for those with higher incidence of body art to cheat on college work, binge drink, and report having had multiple sex partners in the course of their lifetime.
Full-text available
A large (N = 1375; 873 women, 502 men) sample of college students completed measures of demographics, body modification (i.e., tattoos and body piercings), and measures of the Big Five personality traits, social desirability, and need for uniqueness. Tattooed participants, as compared to their non-tattooed counterparts, scored significantly lower on agreeableness and conscientiousness and significantly higher on need for uniqueness. Body pierced participants, as compared to their non-pierced counterparts, scored significantly lower on conscientiousness and significantly higher on openness to experience. Although statistically significant, these relationships explain very small amounts of variance and most likely reflect inconsequential real world differences between those with and without these two forms of body modification. Our findings suggest caution when attributing psychopathology to adults who possess tattoos and/or body piercings.
Zusammenfassung. Die Sensation Seeking-Skalen, Form V (SSS-V) sind eines der am haufigsten eingesetzten Inventare zur Erfassung von Sensation Seeking. Allerdings wurden immer wieder geringe interne Konsistenzen und Probleme bei der Replikation der Faktorenstruktur, insbesondere fur die Subskalen Experience Seeking und Boredom Susceptibility berichtet. Im Vergleich zu Alternativen hat die SSS-V allerdings den Vorteil einer differenzierteren Erfassung des Konstrukts, weshalb die neueren Inventare sich nicht durchsetzen konnten. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Situation bestanden die Ziele der vorliegenden Arbeit in der Untersuchung der psychometrischen Eigenschaften einer von Marvin Zuckerman autorisierten deutschsprachigen SSS-V, der Gewinnung von Normen sowie optimierter Personenkennwerte anhand von Faktorwerten. Dazu wurde eine Stichprobe von 1526 Probanden (823 weiblich) im Alter von 16 bis 68 Jahren mit der SSS-V untersucht. Die vierfaktorielle Struktur der SSS-V konnte anhand einer exploratorischen Faktore...
Defines need for uniqueness as a positive striving for abnormality relative to other people. Recent research regarding situational determinants of uniqueness motivation is described, and a dispositional individual-differences measure of need for uniqueness is presented. The development of the Uniqueness Scale aims at insuring construct validity as a guide for the item selection. The internal reliabilities, item-remainder coefficients, test–retest reliabilities, cross-validation information, factor analysis, and discriminant validation data are presented, and all meet the normal psychometric criteria expected of an individual-differences measure. Additionally, 8 separate validational studies, conducted with a total of 1,523 US and Israeli college students, are presented. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
A sample of 281 (females=160) college students with body modifications completed a demographics questionnaire, questions about body modification practices, the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS-V; Zuckerman, 1994), the Impulsivity subscale of the Zuckerman–Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire (ZKPQ; Zuckerman, Kuhlman, Joireman, Teta, & Kraft, 1993), and a selected portion of the History of Psychosocial Stressors (HPS; Scotti, 1992, 1999). Gender differences were found on the number of body modifications and when they were first obtained. In general, males with tattoos and piercings had higher scores than females on subscales of the SSS-V. Females with piercings and tattoos had higher scores on the Impulsive Sensation Seeking subscale of the ZKPQ. No gender differences were found when participants were asked if he/she would obtain another body modification or if his/her friends had a body modification. Gender and sensation seeking preference were predictive of number of tattoos but not number of piercings. Exposure with psychosocial stressors was predictive of number of piercings but not number of tattoos. These results suggest that sensation seeking preferences and exposure to a psychosocial stressor may be associated with obtaining a body modification in some college students.
Previously reported associations between low (male-typical) digit ratio (2D:4D), a putative pointer to prenatal testosterone exposure, and high (male-typical) sensation seeking have been inconsistent across studies (alternately present for men, women, either sex, or neither). Addressing this question again in three new studies (N = 198, 188, 1118) produced similarly erratic findings. Meta-analysis of the entire literature (13 studies with nearly 3000 individuals, including unpublished accounts) showed that the current cumulative evidence does not support any negative correlations between 2D:4D and sensation seeking traits. The only significant meta-analytical finding was for right-hand 2D:4D and the experience seeking facet of sensation seeking in both sexes, but this effect accounted for merely 0.4% attributable variance, and moreover was directionally opposite to expectation (i.e., a positive correlation). Discussed are inherent limitations of narrow-scoped approaches (such as via 2D:4D) for elucidating the biological bases of individual difference variables with evidentially intricate neurochemical underpinnings (such as sensation seeking).
There are few topics so fascinating both to the research investigator and the research subject as the self-image. It is distinctively characteristic of the human animal that he is able to stand outside himself and to describe, judge, and evaluate the person he is. He is at once the observer and the observed, the judge and the judged, the evaluator and the evaluated. Since the self is probably the most important thing in the world to him, the question of what he is like and how he feels about himself engrosses him deeply. This is especially true during the adolescent stage of development.