Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Totally Stressed

September 17th, 2009 by

Science has turned its big headed, thick eyeglassed attention to tattoos recently in the land down under.  A new study out of the Universtity of Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia has taken a small yet interesting look at the psychology behind tattoo and body modification.  The results are well, kind of odd.

After surveying 115 different tattoo convention attendees, body modification enthusiasts and university students about tattoos and body modification, the study found that some 25% of those who underwent body modification of some sort, were in fact highly stressed and anxious people.  The study also found that the main reasons for body modifications were individuality and beauty.

Let’s just slow down a minute here though, because I have a couple of problems with this survey.  Now, I don’t know if it’s the fault of the survey itself or of the news source which I’m getting this information from (although I’m far more likely to blame the latter), but this “study” seems very vague to me.  The article in question initially mentions tattoos and body modification as two separate procedures, but then goes on to confuse me by seemingly blending both procedures under the blanket grouping of body modification.

“Researcher Jen Black said some people used self-harm behaviour to help cope with strong emotions or to feel emotions.

“It is possible that piercing and other modifications could serve a similar, more socially acceptable function for some individuals,” she said.

Ms Black said there were some indicators that people motivated by addiction had more body piercings.

“We are exploring the possibility that piercings may then lead to other more extreme forms of body modifications such as scarification and body suspension,” she said.”

Call me stupid, but it really seems to me that tattooing doesn’t really fit in to any of what Ms Black was speaking of.  Piercing, scarification and body suspension all made the list, but what about tattooing?

My next problem with all this is that a study done on 115 different people seems like a small group from which to determine the psychological makeup of the people who get tattoos and piercings done, does it not?  I, like all of you reading this, have many friends who are tattooed.  I also know and have met many people who are tattooed as well as being tattooed myself, and I don’t know, maybe it’s because I live on the west coast, but I honestly have found that the mellowest, most laid back people I know all have some sort of tattoo or piercing.  Am I suggesting that I know more than science?  No.  Am I claiming that a tattoo or piercing makes someone mellow?  No.  But I call ’em as I see ’em and I’m telling the truth when I say that I don’t know many uptight and stressed people with tattoos.  I just don’t.

But hey, that’s just my experience.  Who am I to question science, right?  Still, it kind of irks me that such a small study like this has taken place and is placed in the news as though it is fact.

Damn it, now I’m all stressed…time to go hang by my rib cage from the meat hooks I installed in my garage.  Stupid science.  Later dudes.

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