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Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2012 Jul;28(7):383-9. doi: 10.1016/j.kjms.2011.10.008. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Tattooing among high school students in southern Taiwan: the prevalence, correlates and associations with risk-taking behaviors and depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


This study aims to examine the prevalence and sociodemographics, family and peer correlates of tattooing among high school students in southern Taiwan, and to examine the associations between tattooing and a variety of adolescent risk-taking behaviors and depression. A total of 9755 high school students (grades 7 to 12) in southern Taiwan were recruited into this study and completed the questionnaires. The prevalence of tattooing among the adolescents was calculated. The responses were analyzed using the logistic regression analysis models. It was found that 1% of high school students in southern Taiwan had 1 or more tattoos on their bodies. The older students who were perceived to have low family monitoring and who had friends who drink regularly, used illicit drugs, had a criminal record or were in a gang were more likely to have a tattoo. Tattooing was also found to be associated with violence, weekly alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, dropping out of school, unprotected sex, suicidal ideation/attempt, and depression. The results indicate that several demographics, family and peer factors are associated with adolescent tattooing. Tattooing may be an indicator of risk-taking behaviors in high school students.

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