Tattoo Acquisition: A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Adolescents

This study uses prospective longitudinal data to examine who acquired a first tattoo among a national sample of adolescents (n = 13,101). Results indicate that social bonds, prior deviant involvement, self-protection, and negative self-appraisal all were predictive of tattoo acquisition. Results also show nontrivial differences in the likelihood of tattoo acquisition for different subgroups of adolescents, ranging from 1 in 5 for adolescents who scored high on several risk factors at once to 1 in 160 for those who scored low. Implications for future research on tattoo acquisition among adolescents are discussed.