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Psychol Rep. 2004 Apr;94(2):425-30.

Correlations of religious belief and practice with college students' tattoo-related behavior.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Holden Hall 158, Lubbock, TX 79409-1012, USA.


This research builds on a large body of literature which suggests that religious belief and practice suppress deviant behavior. Survey data from 520 undergraduates (64% freshmen and sophomores; 70% female; 80% Euro-American) at a large public university in the southwest were examined for whether students' strength of religious faith, church attendance, or frequency of prayer correlated with their having a tattoo, being interested in tattoos, or being likely to get a (or another) tattoo. Analysis showed strength of religious faith had a weak, negative correlation with having a tattoo, being interested in tattoos, and being likely to get a (or another) tattoo. Church attendance also weakly correlated with a reduced interest in tattooing. Since the strength of the numerous correlations was very low and barely reached statistical significance, religious belief and behavior do not appear to be associated substantively with attitudes and behavior regarding tattoos. This suggests increasing cultural acceptance of tattooing.

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