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ERIC Number: EJ1095528
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0146-3934
To Ink or Not to Ink: The Meaning of Tattoos among College Students
Dickson, Lynda; Dukes, Richard L.; Smith, Hilary; Strapko, Noel
College Student Journal, v49 n1 p106-120 Spr 2015
We examine the process of getting a tattoo and its meaning among 195 tattooed and 257 non-tattooed undergraduates. Most tattooed respondents contemplate getting a tattoo for months, get a professional tattoo, can cover it easily, and like it. Respondents acquire first tattoos to represent important role transitions and as a form of identity and self-expression. Most respondents' first tattoos are obtained as a symbolic way to celebrate relationships with family and friends, to signify personal growth or spirituality, or because they just "wanted one" or want "something different." Respondents express greater positive affect toward their first tattoo if it is larger, has significant meaning and is done professionally. Among the respondents who are not tattooed, the most common reasons for not having a tattoo are concerns with the permanency of the tattoo, lack of desire for one, lack of resources such as time and money, and health concerns. The findings suggest that tattoos serve a symbolic meaning-making function that is part of the development of adult identity.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A