Prevalence, knowledge, attitudes and practices towards body art in university students: body art as an indicator of risk taking behaviours?

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Abstract

Background: Young people are attracted by body art and consider it as a way of being “different”. Body art(tattoos, piercing, etc.) represents an important socio-cultural phenomenon which is not risk free for health.Existing literature, moreover, points out that deviant behaviours and unhealthy lifestyles are significantlyassociated with body art.Objective and methods: The research was aimed to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and practices ofuniversity students towards body art, highlighting the association between body art and some demographicvariables, deviant behaviours, unhealthy lifestyles, knowledge of health risks and medical complicationspotentially involved. Data came from a cross-sectional study conducted on a sample, selected at random, of1.200 undergraduate university students, (570, human sciences; 630, scientific areas). The instrument for thesurvey was a 21 item multiple choice questionnaire. Data was codified and statistical analysis was computedthrough Epi-Info and Openstat software.Results: Students from a scientific background showed a higher rate of interest, (p<0.01) for the argumentof body art. About one third of the surveyed individuals had at least one body art. Cultural choice and genderwas associated with body art. Males, especially from the scientific area, were more attracted by temporarybody art, while females preferred permanent tattoos. Students from humanistic backgrounds were associatedwith one body art and those from a scientific area with more than one (p<0.01). Unemployment, lack ofpartnership and family attitude towards body art, were positively associated with students’ body art. Bodyart was strictly associated with different unhealthy lifestyles, such as drug, alcohol and tobacco consumption,problem gambling and sexual activity before 18 years of age. A relevant part of students considered piercingand tattooing as having no consequences for infections and/or disease.Conclusions: Body art was associated with unhealthy lifestyles and may be considered an indicator of risktaking behaviours. Individuals had no accurate idea of the consequences for their health and body, apart froma generic risk of infections. Education is a necessary tool for the modification of lifestyles and as a form ofprevention ensuring the correct understanding and assessment of the health risk involved.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)386-394
Numero di pagine9
RivistaITALIAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Volume7
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2010

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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