Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Jasmine Woods 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am a final year student on the BSc Applied Psychology programme at IADT. For my final year research project, I was interested in the influence tattoo status and gender may have on stigma surrounding tattoos and whether tattoos have an impact on the ideal self.

Project Description

Investigating the Impact Tattoo Status and Gender has on Stigma Against Tattoos and the Ideal Self.
In recent years, tattooing has become more common in society. Recent research suggests that there is still negative stigma associated with tattooing. However, the literature has suggested that tattooing may have a positive impact on the ideal self. The current study employed a mixed methods research design. 182 participants (39 males; 143 females) completed a questionnaire measuring participants stigma against tattoos. This data was analysed using statistics. The questionnaire included two open-ended questions directed at tattooed participants which allowed for a deeper exploration into participants views on the impact of tattoos on their ideal self. A thematic analysis was carried out on this data.

Project Objectives

The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence tattoo status and gender had on participants stigma against tattoos. The current study further examined whether tattoos had an impact on the ideal self. The study also sought to address observed gaps in the literature by including male and female, and tattooed and non-tattooed participants between the age of 18-65 years within Ireland.

Project Findings

The findings suggest that tattoo status impacted participants stigma against tattoos. Tattooed participants showed less stigma towards tattoos in comparison to non-tattooed participants. Gender had no impact on the participants stigma levels. In addition, there was no interaction effect between gender and tattoo status on participants stigma levels. Several themes emerged from the analysis of the responses to the open-ended questions which suggest that tattoos have a positive impact on the ideal self. Key themes included confidence, identity and creativity. Participants explained how tattooing had enabled them to become closer to their ideal self. These findings build on Carl Rogers self concept theory indicating that congruence between the ideal self and the current self can create contentment within the self, which can be achieved through tattooing. These findings may be further applied to understand judgements associated with tattooing and how they may be influenced and changed within society.