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Journal of Behavioral and Neuroscience Research
2005, Vol. 3 (NEURON Special Issue)
© 2005 The College of Saint Rose
POSTER ABSTRACT
Piercings and Tattoos and Their Relationship to
Self-Esteem
Piotr Wisniewski
Hunter College, CUNY
Discourse on piercings and tattoos says that piercings and tattoos are forms of
self-expression which aid people in developing their sense of identity, selfconcept and aid personal growth. However, two studies that have tried to establish
a positive relationship between piercings and tattoos, and self-esteem failed to do
so. This study ultimately attempted to find a positive relationship between
piercings and tattoos and self esteem. This cross-sectional study used a 38
question - multiple choice and fill in the blank questionnaire, and the Rosenberg
Self-Esteem Scale as its measure of self-esteem. A total of 188 men and women
made up the convenience sample which came from three sources, Hunter College
students and faculty, n=156, Unimax, piercing and tattoo supply shop, and Sacred
Tattoo, piercing and tattoo parlor, n=22, and chance and personal acquaintances,
n=10. The Unimax sample showed the highest positive relationship between the
amount of piercings a person has and their self-esteem, r= .464, and between the
amount of tattoos a person has and their self-esteem, r= .159. However, the
Pearson coefficients for this same relationship, for the different samples, and
different operational definitions of piercings ranged from r= - .243 to r= .464, and
for tattoos between r= -.083 and r= .159, depending on the way the data was
analyzed. All of these results showed to be statistically insignificant, however the
Unimax sample approached significance at a two-tailed percent error of .061. A
very strong experimenter bias was present, and the researcher engaged in data
mining, looking at all different ways in which a positive relationship can be
found, and therefore the findings are biased and inconclusive, and more research
on the subject is needed.