People With Tattoo More Likely Have Mental Health Issues, Survey Shows


People with tattoo are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health issues and suffer from sleep problems, findings of new research have revealed.

Tattooed Individuals More Likely To Engage In Risky Behaviors

In a survey-based study published in International Journal of Dermatology on Jan. 24, Karoline Mortensen, from the University of Miami, and colleagues investigated a potential association between tattoo and negative health-related outcomes and risky behaviors.

They found that having tattoos was not significantly related to overall health status. Nonetheless, their survey, which involved more than 2,000 adults in the United States, found that people who have inked skin were more likely to suffer from mental health issues and sleep problems.

Compared with their non-tattooed counterparts, people with tattoos were also more likely to have a higher number of sex partners in the past year. They also tend to be smokers, and likely to have spent time in jail.

"Previous research has established an association between having a tattoo and engaging in risky behaviors. In an era of the increasing popularity of tattoos, even among women and working professionals, we find these relationships persist but are not associated with lower health status," Mortensen said.

Potential Indicator Of Mental Health Issues

This is not the first study to find an association between tattoos and risky behavior. In a 2001 research that involved students between 11 and 21 years old, researchers found that youths with tattoos are more likely than their peers to smoke marijuana or cigarettes, have premarital sex, go on drinking binges, join gangs, skip school, and get poor grades.

Those who get tattoos may also place themselves at higher risk for health problems. A 2014 study, for instance, found a link between tattoo ink and increased risk for skin cancer.

Mortensen and colleagues said tattoos could be a potential indicator of mental health issues and risky behavior.

"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," they wrote in their study.

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