Despite the recent gentrification of tattooing, tattoos still appear to be associated with risk-taking behaviour in adults.
‘Having been tattooed also correlated with certain risk-taking behaviours, most notably smoking, cannabis use, and greater numbers of lifetime sexual partners. Associations between tattooing and risk-taking behaviour have also been reported in studies among adults and adolescents,’ says Professor Marian Pitts, Director of ARCSHS.
‘Although the direction of the relationship between tattooing and risk-taking behaviour in adults is not currently known, it may be that in some groups tattooing still represents and is associated with resistance and rebellion towards more conservative parts of society.’
More recently however, in a 2007 review authors found the most common reasons mentioned in the literature related to embellishments of the body, art, fashion, and individuality.
Tattooing was popular among men who had not finished secondary school, tradesmen, and women who did not live with their partners, whereas men and women who had completed postsecondary education were less likely to have a tattoo. Similar findings relating to education attainment were also reported in the U.S. national study.
‘Furthermore, tattooing does not appear to be confined to certain subpopulations, with men and women in every demographic reporting having tattoos,’ says Professor Pitts.
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