Toward building a composite of college student influences with body art

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Body piercing and tattooing flourish on American campuses. The theoretical framework of symbolic interaction and subculture identity were used to examine two similar studies (methods, sample, and tools) for building a composite of influences associated with body art and further understand the psychosocial dimensions. In data from Armstrong, Owen, Roberts, and Koch (2002a, 2002b), and the described study within, four groups of college students (N = 908) were formed; those without tattooing (n = 419, 81%), and with tattooing (n = 97, 19%), and those without body piercing (n = 247, 55%) and with body piercing (N = 145, 32%). Influences (purpose, image, identity, cues, barriers, family, friends) were examined. All four student groups reported a positive image for the body art. Friends provided major support, whereas family were not as influential. Uniqueness was important, with the major purposes "I just wanted one, express myself, feel unique, be myself, I don't need to impress anyone anymore, and it helps me feel independent.".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-295
Number of pages19
JournalComprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


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