Revista médica de Chile
version ISSN 0034-9887
COSSIO T, María Laura; GIESEN F, Laura; ARAYA, Gabriela and PEREZ-COTAPOS S, María Luisa. Association between tattoos, piercings and risk behaviors in adolescents. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2012, vol.140, n.2, pp. 198-206. ISSN 0034-9887. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872012000200008.
Background: The use of tattoos and piercings has increased, especially among adolescents in the last decades. Aim: To evaluate the prevalence of these behaviors in adolescents and their association with risk behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use and sexual promiscuity. Material and Methods: An anonymous and confidential survey about tattooing and piercings was applied to randomly selected high school teenagers, attending municipal, private-subsidized and private schools, in four sectors of Santiago (north-east, south-east, north-west, south-west). Results: The surveys were answered by 1329 participants with a mean age of 15 years (62% women) from 9 schools in Santiago. The prevalence of tattoos was 1.7% (confidence intervals (CI) 1.1% to 2.5%). The figure for piercings was 30.6% (CI 28.2 to 33.1%). A higher prevalence of tattooing and piercings was observed in groups with a history of psychiatric disorders, criminal records, alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug consumption and initiation of sexual activity (p < 0,001). Conclusions: This study confirms that tattoos and piercings are indicators of adolescent risk behaviors.
Keywords : Adolescence; Body piercing; Tattooing.