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Body Piercing and Self-Mutilation: A Multifaceted Relationship
American Journal of Applied Psychology
Volume 3, Issue 4, July 2014, Pages: 104-109
Received: Jul. 16, 2014; Accepted: Jul. 30, 2014; Published: Aug. 10, 2014
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Authors
Anika Wessel, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Johanniter Hospital Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany
Erich Kasten, Dept. of Neuropsychology, Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract
Goal was to examine the connection between piercings and self-mutilation and the practice of self-piercing. Participants (n=140) completed an anonymous online survey consisting of a 54-item questionnaire and a standardized personality test. All respondents were members of internet communities specialized on piercings. The majority of participants (77.1%) were female, 22.9% were male. The mean age of the group was 24.7 years (range: 16-57 years). Participants had an average of 8.9 piercings. More than half (57.9%) of participants were between 15 and 20 years old when they acquired their first piercing. The most common piercings reported were facial (in 82.9% of participants), ear cartilage (in 67.9% of participants), nipple (in 48.6% of participants) and genital piercings (in 45.0% of participants). Participants were asked to complete the NEO-FFI personality inventory, which is a tool used to measure the personality factors Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Openness and Neuroticism. Although all of the NEO-FFI results were within the average norm, significant differences between the participants with/without self-injury were found regarding the T-Scores for Neuroticism and Agreeableness. Thirty-one percent of the participants reported a history of self-mutilation. Those with a history of self-mutilation did not have more piercings than their peers. Half of these individuals described a decrease in auto-aggressive behavior since having acquired piercings, twenty-five percent claim to have ceased self-injurious behavior. The incidence of self-mutilation appears to be higher among pierced individuals than among the general public. Participants who had engaged in self-injury had significantly more often self-pierced. Piercings and self-piercings may serve as substitute behavior for self-mutilation in some individuals.
Keywords
Body Piercing, Self-Mutilation, Self-Piercing
To cite this article
Anika Wessel, Erich Kasten, Body Piercing and Self-Mutilation: A Multifaceted Relationship, American Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol. 3, No. 4, 2014, pp. 104-109. doi: 10.11648/j.ajap.20140304.14
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