Motivations of Body Art : a study investigating if acceptance of tattoos and piercings in modern society has resulted in movement away from deep psychological meaning and association with groups towards less meaningful motivations such as fashion

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Howe, Aoife
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This study set out to investigate the motivational factors underlying the practice of getting tattoos and or piercings. It questioned whether these forms of body art have become nothing more than fashion statements or whether they are always representative of the bearer's identity or affiliation with groups and therefore meaningful in some way. Fifty participants partook in the study. The quantitative research method, in the form of questionnaires, was used. There were eight questions in all divided into three sections. The first section sought demographic details of each participant. The two remaining sections made use of lykert-type scales to record ratings of motivational factors such as, Individuality, Group Affiliation & Commitment, and Fashion. It was hypothesised that people choosing tattoos and piercings are motivated more by fashion than by the expression of individual identity, affiliation with a group and by any other factor. The hypothesis that fashion is a stronger motivational factor than the expression of individual identity was refuted. For affiliation with a group, the results were split. Results agreed that fashion was more important as a motivational factor for piercings but not for tattoos. Results also proved that fashion was rated as more important than all remaining motivations. Limitations and suggestions for future research were outlined.