A study revealed these indicate more sexual partners and mental health issues. Tattoos may be considered attractive to certain people — body ink is practically a visual symbol of both “bad boys” and “bad girls” — but a new study has determined that people with tattoos not only have more sexual partners, they’re more likely to have mental health issues and sleep problems.
Researchers at the University of Miami studied 2,000 adults living in the U.S. and found a positive correlation, not just between tattoos and mental health and sleeping issues, but also smoking, incarceration, and number of sex partners.
Our results suggest that individuals with tattoos are more likely to engage in risky behaviors relative to their non‐tattooed counterparts, which may lead to health consequences. Dermatologists, healthcare providers, and public health advocates should recognize that having a tattoo(s) is a potential marker for mental health issues and risky behaviors.
“Previous research has established an association between having a tattoo and engaging in risky behaviors,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Karoline Mortensen.
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“In an era of increasing popularity of tattoos, even among women and working professionals, we find these relationships persist but are not associated with lower health status.”
A Pew poll from 2010 found that 40 percent of people between ages 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo, with half of the group claiming between two and five. Eighteen percent had at least six.
Results from this newest study can be found in the International Journal of Dermatology.
Tattoos have been a part of human culture for thousands of years, serving as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments, and even forms of punishment. The earliest evidence of tattoo art dates to over 5,000 years ago. During the construction the great pyramids there become conclusive evidence of their use amongst people.
Ancient Greeks used tattoos to communicate among spies. But they fell out of favor and for health reasons almost vanished. In the 18th and 19th centuries tattoos were used as a unique way to identify a sailor’s body should he be lost at sea or impressed by the British navy.
In the 1930s, when Social Security numbers were introduced, people flocked to tattoo parlors to get their numbers inscribed on their arms, chests or backs as a memory aide.
In the mid-20th century, even as musicians like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin helped make tattoos even cooler, the form suffered a setback in the city, as a 1961 hepatitis outbreak blamed on a Coney Island tattoo artist had prompted the New York City health department to ban tattooing. At a time when tattoos were seen as signs of promiscuity, Ruth Marten, a tattoo artist during the 1970s, says many of her clients were women getting a divorce, including one who told her that she “wanted to be able to change her body to something that her ex-husband had had no experience. The ban was lifted in 1997.