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Adolescence. 2002 Fall;37(147):627-37.

Body piercing, tattooing, self-esteem, and body investment in adolescent girls.

Author information

  • 1Counselor Education Program, Schultz Hall, University of North Florida, 4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA. lcarroll@unf.edu


Postmodern perspectives of body piercing and tattooing interpret these as signifiers of the self and attempts to attain mastery and control over the body in an age of increasing alienation. In this exploratory study, 79 adolescent females, ages 15 to 18 (M = 16.08, SD = 1.36), completed the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI; Coopersmith, 1981), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, 1978), the Body Investment Scale (BIS; Orbach & Mikulincer, 1998), and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2; Spielberger, 1996). Analyses revealed that body piercings and tattoos were significantly correlated with trait anger (Angry Reaction subscale scores). A multiple regression analysis indicated that three of the dependent variables (Trait Anger-Reaction, BDI, and Feeling subscale of the BIS) were predictors of the total number of body piercings and tattoos.

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