Are tattoos (l)inked to positive body image and affective personality traits?


  • A. Benarbia
  • G. Dorard


Nowadays, 14% of the French population is tattooed. Previous studies on intrapersonal characteristics related to getting tattooed have not examined much of positive body-related attitudes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether positive dimensions of body image (i.e. body appreciation, investment and comparison) and affective personality traits differ according to being tattooed or not. 509 french-speaking individuals (26.5 years; 82% women), 58% of which were tattooed, have voluntarily participated. They completed measures on body image (Body Appreciation Scale, Body Investment Scale and Physical Appearance Comparison Scale) and personality (Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales). Data were analysed first using t-tests, then with multivariate logistic regressions. Tattooed individuals’ scores were compared to those of non-tattooed individuals. More, lighthly versus heavily-tattooed participants were also compared on the basis of their scores on body image and personality measures. Results indicated that tattooed individuals take greater care of their body and compare themselves less to others than non-tattooed individuals. In addition to this, data analyses pointed out that the Anger trait from the personality measure is the one that is associated with having a tattoo. The study’s findings bring questions concerning the impact of tattoos in the mental economy linked to one’s relation with one’s body and their possibe adaptative role in front of either weakening events for the body (i.e. physical illness, impairment). These findings are discussed in relation to the gender impact on the tattoo phenomenon and on the body image concept.





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