-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Tattoos and body piercings
are increasingly seen as nothing more than a fashion trend in
western societies, but a new study in France found that those with
body art tended to drink more alcohol than their peers.
In the study, researchers asked nearly 3,000 French youth to
take a breathalyzer test as they left bars and other drinking
establishments. The readings showed that those with tattoos and
body piercings had consumed more alcohol than those without the
The study is published online and in the July print issue of the
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"A host of previous studies have routinely shown that individuals with body piercings or tattoos are more likely to engage in risky behavior than non-pierced or non-tattooed people," corresponding author Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of social behavior at the University of Southern Brittany, said in a journal news release.
These risky behaviors include unprotected sex, fighting, theft
Educators, parents and doctors should consider tattoos and
piercings as potential signs of drinking and use them to begin a
conversation about alcohol use and other risky behaviors, Gueguen
But Myrna Armstrong, professor emeriti at the Texas Tech
University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, pointed out
that people have tattoos or body piercings for different reasons,
such as religious beliefs. She was not involved in the new study
but conducted some of the previous studies mentioned by
Armstrong said she was concerned about "the tendency to see a
tattoo or piercing and automatically profile or stereotype that
individual as a 'high-risk person' as this may or may not be
conducive for helping them. A clinician, for example, can spend
some time not judging individuals about their present tattoos, but
talking to them about safe tattooing, etc. and alcohol in general .
. . not because they have tattoos or piercings but because they are
in a high-risk age group."
The results of a study Armstrong conducted in 2009 also
suggested that there is a difference between having a few tattoos
or piercings and having many. "We found that those with only one
tattoo were very similar to those without any tattoos in terms of
high-risk behaviors, including alcohol. We also graded body
piercings and found that individuals with seven or more were the
really high-risk group. In other words, be very careful about
generalizing among those with many tattoos or piercings and those
with only one," she noted in the news release.
The American Academy of Dermatology has more about
tattoos and body piercings.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.