Tattoos and piercings correlate with drinking habits

French bar-goers who drink more, tend to have more tattoos and body piercings, according to a recent study.
Written by Rose Eveleth, Contributing Editor

Ah, the rock and roll life-style. Drinking, going to rock shows, showing off tattoos and piercings. When you imagine a rock star, he probably has a beer in his hand and a tattoo on his arm. But does drinking and tattooing really go hand in hand? A study in France confirms your suspicions: people who drink more, are more likely to have tattoos.

The study is pretty simple. They asked people coming out of a French bar to take a breathalyzer test. They asked those same people if they had tattoos and piercings. When you look at those two things, a pretty clear picture arises, Nicolas Gueguen, author of the study, said in the press release. "We found that pierced and/or tattooed individuals had consumed more alcohol in bars on a Saturday night than patrons in the same bars who were non pierced and non tattooed."

Guegen says that doctors and care givers should use tattoos and piercings as a warning sign for alcohol abuse. But others aren't so sure. "I am concerned with 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," said Myrna Armstrong, who was not involved in the study.

People get tattoos for all sorts of reasons, Armstrong said, and not all of them indicate a tendency to drink. In fact, Armstrong did a study on tattoos and drinking behavior as well. In her study, she found that someone with one tattoo drinks just as much as those with none. It wasn't until someone had seven or more body piercings that they started to fall into a high-risk group.

What the study does do, however, is use an approach to studying risky behaviors that hasn't really been used before. Most studies like this one take survey data from people who sign up for a study. This work went out to the bar to find subjects who might not normally volunteer to participate in research. Their findings, that more drinking correlates with more tattoos, has never been demonstrated in France before.

Perhaps this explains the unfortunate tattoo choices so often seen at dive bars.

Via: Eurekalert

Photo: Claus Rebler, Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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