“Body Art, Deviance, and American College Students.”

Jerome Koch, Alden Roberts, Myrna L Armstrong, Donna C. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines the relationship between body art (tattoos and piercings) and deviance. With the increasing mainstream presence of visible tattoos and piercings among entertainers, athletes, and even in corporate boardrooms, we wonder the extent to which long-time enthusiasts and collectors regard the phenomenon as encroachment. We use sub-cultural identity theory to propose that individuals with increasing evidence of body art procurement will also report higher levels of deviant behavior in order to maintain and/or increase social distance from the mainstream. We tested this proposition by surveying 1753 American college students, asking them to report their level of body art acquisition and their history of deviance. Results indicate that respondents with four or more tattoos, seven or more body piercings, or piercings located in their nipples or genitals, were substantively and significantly more likely to report regular marijuana use, occasional use of other illegal dr
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
JournalSocial Science Journal
StatePublished - Dec 23 2009


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