Bren Lee
December 03, 2015 3:55 pm

If you ever needed an excuse to get a tattoo, we have the perfect one for you: a new study suggests that women with 4 or more tattoos have higher self-esteem than those without tattoos.

The study, titled “Tattoos, gender and well-being among American college students,” is set to be published in The Social Science Journal in 2016. Researchers surveyed 2,395 college students from six universities and noticed that that women with four or more tattoos have higher self-esteem than their ink-free counterparts. Researchers behind study believe this might be due in part because, at that point, the body art becomes a deeper part of a person’s identity.

Jerome Koch, who led the study at Texas Tech University, told Science Daily that “instead of talking about deviance, it’s about wellness. We wanted to find out, to what extent does the acquisition of body art correlate to a sense of well-being or a greater sense of self?”

Unfortunately, the study also found that females with four or more tattoos reported higher rates of depression and had attempted suicide more times than those with 0-3 tattoos. Of course, not every woman with tattoos has a history of depression. As Refinery29 pointed out, there are weaknesses in this study. For example, the highest number of tattoos a participant could report was “4 or more,” and the study also doesn’t take into account the size or placement of the tattoos.

Basically, that means that participants with 4 tiny finger tattoos were analyzed the same way as someone with two half-sleeves, a back piece, and leg tattoo, which technically could be counted as 4 tattoos, depending on the wearer’s definition. What the data does suggest is that the women studied might be utilizing tattoos as a form of therapy or self-expression after struggling with major life events or personal tragedies.

There are many of us with tattoos who don’t have a history of mental health issues, and even if we have, it may have had nothing to do with getting a tattoo. Some of us just really want to permanently profess our undying love to Hogwart’s with a Harry Potter tattoo, while some women are getting tattoos to cover up self-harm or mastectomy scars.

In fact, I once got a tattoo just to get free makeup (totally worth it). Regardless of why you’re getting tattoos, you now have research to back up your claim that your body art makes you even more confident, and we’re totally on board with that.

(Image via Instagram)

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