Young people

Tattoos are a mark of low self esteem

no suggestion this model has low self esteem but she does have lots of tattoos. Someone should let Angelina Jolie know.........

Having lots of tattoos can indicate low self-esteem, according to research presented today at the British Psychological Society Conference in Brighton.

Forty eight North of England volunteers were questioned about their reasons for having tattoos. The style and location of their tattoos were also recorded and the participants completed questionnaires about self-esteem.

The four main motivators for getting a tattoo were found to be rebellion, aesthetic appearance, personal or emotional significance, and group affiliation.

Men were more likely to have tattoos related to their group membership (such as football teams or army regiments). However, women tended to have tattoos for rebellious or aesthetic reasons.

Regardless of the reason for getting tattooed, people with three or more tattoos were found to have significantly lower levels of self-esteem and, for this group, rebellion and group affiliation also tended to predict low self -esteem. For people with fewer tattoos, self-esteem was lowest when they had a tattoo for aesthetic reasons.

Psychologist Marie Randle from Liverpool Hope University commented:

"Tattooing has become more popular in recent years, especially amongst young women, and there is a growing fascination with the tattoos of celebrities.

"The findings of this study suggest that tattoos are not just fashion accessories, but driven by a wide range of motivational factors that are significantly associated with self-esteem.

This strongly suggests that people considering getting tattooed should be encouraged to question their motivation before deciding to permanently change their appearance".

This article was published on Fri 3 April 2009

Image © Karin Lau -

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