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J R Army Med Corps. 1992 Jun;138(2):73-6.

A survey of soldiers' attitudes to tattooing.

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Garrison Medical Centre, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire.


A study was performed at the Garrison Medical Centre, Larkhill to assess the incidence of skin tattoos in a sample of soldiers. The soldiers were questioned with the aim of establishing where they had had their tattoos done, identifying any factors involved in becoming tattooed and assessing what proportion later regretted their actions. The study included 450 male soldiers. Assessment was by a questionnaire completed in the medical centre waiting room. Overall 44% of the soldiers questioned were tattooed. Most (85.7%) had had tattoos done by recognised artists in the United Kingdom. Younger soldiers had a significantly higher incidence of 'home made' tattoos. Peer pressure was identified as an important influence on the decision to become tattooed. 31.1% of tattooed soldiers regretted their tattoos. This figure rose to 44.6% in those over 26 years old. The author advocates increased education to encourage the young soldier to think hard about its implications before becoming tattooed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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