A study of over a million tattoo requests in the United States found that people who received the most tattoo requests were the ones who were most likely to see a change in their body shape, a pattern of skin growth that suggests they’re in a healthy state of mind.
But there were also some interesting observations about what factors may influence a person’s response to their own body image, the study’s lead author, Jennifer B. Davis, told Newsweek.
“It’s interesting because the people who had the highest tattoo requests, who were the most likely in general to have an image of themselves that was more of a body-focused one, had a much greater rate of body dissatisfaction than those who were less likely to have those same responses,” Davis said.
“They were also much more likely to report having a body that felt unattractive or uncomfortable.”
The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
It was conducted by Davis and a team of researchers, including lead author and psychologist Daniel G. Wierzbicki, PhD, who has previously studied body image and depression.
Wiersznicki said the findings suggest that people’s perception of their own appearance and body image can influence their treatment, which may help to prevent or reverse health problems such as body dissatisfaction.
“There is a connection between body dissatisfaction and a number of psychological problems, including depression,” Wierszyk said.
“Our findings support the idea that body dissatisfaction, which is associated with dissatisfaction with one’s body image as well as a number other psychological problems like self-esteem, self-acceptance and positive thinking, may be a contributor to depression,” Davis added.
“I think it’s important to recognize that it is not just the body that is affected by dissatisfaction.
Body dissatisfaction can be seen as an underlying psychological problem, which leads to an overall more negative perception of oneself.”
In the study, researchers tracked the tattoo requests of over 3,000 participants and compared them with responses from the same people in the general population.
Participants received a questionnaire about their body image (the most commonly asked question was “How does your body look?”), depression and health problems.
Participants who had a higher tattoo request rate had a significantly higher rate of dissatisfaction than the general public.
Davis said she hopes the study can lead to more research about the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and health and other mental health issues.
“If we can understand how people perceive themselves, we can use that to develop more effective treatments,” she said.
The findings come as many people are beginning to realize that their body has many health and mental health benefits.
For example, research has found that body positivity is associated to lower rates of depression, anxiety and other negative health conditions.
However, there are also significant health benefits associated with tattoos.
In a study published in January, Davis and her colleagues found that a tattoo can make people feel better about their own bodies and may even boost their body self-confidence.
They found that tattoos may reduce feelings of anxiety and depression among participants who had higher body confidence, which can help them to feel more confident in their own abilities and perceptions.
“People who have a higher body-positive perception are also more likely than others to be self-critical about their physical appearance and may be less likely than the rest of the population to seek professional help for their concerns,” Davis told Newsweek in a statement.
A study released last month also found that when it comes to self-image, people who have higher body image tend to be more likely, and more likely still to have suicidal thoughts.