Speaking Through the Body: The Incidence of Self-Injury, Piercing, and Tattooing Among College Students

Authors

  • Marta Aizenman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Counseling and Psychological Services, Cook College, Rutgers University
      Counseling and Psychological Services, Rutgers University, 17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (e-mail: martaaiz@gmail.com)
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  • Mary Ann Conover Jensen

    1. Office of Psychological Services, Douglass College, Rutgers University
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Counseling and Psychological Services, Rutgers University, 17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (e-mail: martaaiz@gmail.com)

Abstract

Self-injurious behaviors were compared with tattooing and piercing in a college population. Findings indicate a high prevalence of self-injury. Students who self-injured were motivated by a desire to alleviate emotional pain; students who tattooed and pierced by self-expression. Students who self-injured scored higher than students who tattooed and pierced on measures of depression and scored lower on self-esteem and sense of control scales. The incidence of all 3 body-altering behaviors was higher among participants reporting physical/sexual abuse or eating disorders.

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