Tattoos and piercings: Bodily expressions of uniqueness

Marika Tiggemann, Louise Hopkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    The study aimed to investigate the motivations underlying the body modification practices of tattooing and piercing. There were 80 participants recruited from an Australian music store, who provided descriptions of their tattoos and piercings and completed measures of need for uniqueness, appearance investment and distinctive appearance investment. It was found that tattooed individuals scored significantly higher on need for uniqueness than non-tattooed individuals. Further, individuals with conventional ear piercings scored significantly lower on need for uniqueness than individuals with no piercings or with facial and body piercings. Neither appearance investment nor distinctive appearance investment differed significantly among tattoo or piercing status groups. Strength of identification with music was significantly correlated with number of tattoos, but not number of piercings. It was concluded that tattooing, but not body piercing, represents a bodily expression of uniqueness.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-250
    Number of pages6
    JournalBody Image
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Appearance investment
    • Body modification
    • Body piercing
    • Need for uniqueness
    • Tattoos


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