Sunday, January 27, 2019

Are tattoos telling us something?

I kept seeing things float past about tattoos, sex, sleep and mental illness, so I decided to try to track down the research, since none of the summaries gave a definitive source—just something about University of Miami.  Finally found it in the International Journal of Dermatology, “Are tattoos associated with negative health‐related outcomes and risky behaviors?” Jan. 24, 2019  Two of the authors are at the University of Miami.
Abstract (the article is not available on-line)
Tattoos have reached broadening mainstream acceptance. Medical professional societies have noted that tattoos may co‐occur with high risk behaviors.
Using a variety of statistical models applied to a sample of 2,008 adults residing in the United States via Amazon's Mechanical Turk, we estimate the associations between tattoo characteristics, three health‐related outcomes (overall health status, ever diagnosed with a mental health issue, sleep problems), and three risky behaviors (current smoking, ever spent time in jail or prison, and number of sex partners).
We find that the presence, number, and specific features of tattoos are positively correlated with two of the health‐related outcomes (ever diagnosed with a mental health issue and trouble sleeping) and all three of the risky behaviors (P < .05). Magnitudes are larger for those with multiple, visible, and offensive tattoos.
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.

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