Tattoos and those who have them have often received criticism from society in the past, a stigma has been attached to tattoos with people arguing that they give off a criminal or unprofessional appearance. Slowly those stereotypes are fading and now inked individuals have another reason to rejoice as a recent study suggests a positive correlation between ink and high self-esteem.
The study, "Tattoos, Gender and Well-Being Among American College Students," surveyed 2,395 college students from six public, American universities and was conducted by Texas Tech University sociology professor Jerome Koch. As Koch told Mic, the study reported, "women with four or more tattoos had a statistically significant elevation in self-esteem over others in the study."
The suggested connection between the two appears positive, however it doesn’t encompass all of the reported findings. In addition to self-esteem, the study also inquired about feelings of depression and any past suicide attempts. The same surveyed women also had higher reports of “one or more previous suicide attempts.” Similarly, males with “four or more tattoos” reported high numbers of suicide attempts as well.
Despite the “weird paradox” between the cited levels of high self-esteem and suicide attempts, Koch has a theory of what may link the two. The study states, “Just as breast cancer survivors and abuse victims acquire tattoos and piercings to restore physical losses, we think the women in our study may be trying to restore emotional losses with more tattoos.”
Essentially, it is possible that through the process of getting tattooed these women are experiencing a sort of recovering, feeling that they’re reclaiming their bodies and sense of self. And while the correlation between the two may be troubling, the possibility these people may be on the road to recovery is inspiring.