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Journal of Behavioral and Neuroscience Research
2005, Vol. 3 (NEURON Special Issue)
© 2005 The College of Saint Rose
Piercings and Tattoos and Their Relationship to
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.