Body modification in American Culture
In recent years tattooing and body piercing have become increasingly prevalent in popular culture. These forms of body modification are no longer tools used by criminals and gang member, showing their role in society. These practices are used by many of teenagers and young adults in our society today. In fact many of these practices have been a positive trend in American culture, giving adolescents a way of expressing themselves
Studies have revealed a positive correlation between risky behaviors (such as the use of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol) and participation in body modification. There is a shortage of available research, however, investigating the relationship between body modification and behaviors of high-risk such as driving while intoxicated and unsafe sexual practices. The current study attempted to bridge this gap in the literature by examining body modification participation and involvement in very high-risk behaviors common to a college student population. Two hypotheses were examined. First, it was hypothesized that a positive relationship between participation in body modification and very high-risk activities would be found. Secondly, it was hypothesized that self-esteem would mediate the relationship between body modification and very high-risk behaviors. The Cognitive Appraisal of Risky Events--Revised (Fromme, D'Amico, & Katz, 1999; Katz, Fromme, & D'Amico, 2000) and The Coopersmith Inventory (Coopersmith, 1981) were administered to 117 undergraduate students at a small midwestern university. Only the first hypothesis was supported. Results suggested different levels of high-risk behavior.
There are many reasons for individuals to acquire body modifications. One possible reason for body modifications is to gain attention through displays of extravagance such as those that are found in people with histrionic disorder (Durand & Barlow, 2000). A study by Burger & Finkel (2002) investigated reasons why people adorn their bodies with tattoos and body piercing. They also researched unmodified participants’ perceptions of body art. When the researchers polled participant group as to their perceptions of body modifications, they found that many people associate tattoos and body piercing with risky behaviors and view them as symbols of drug...