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Open Access Research article

Characteristics of adolescents who expressed indifference or no interest towards body art

Luca Cegolon12*, Carla Xodo3, Giuseppe Mastrangelo1 and VAHP Working Group

Author Affiliations

1 Padua University, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Padua, Italy

2 Imperial College London, School of Public Health, St Mary's Campus, London, UK

3 Padua University, Department of Educational Sciences, Padua, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:605  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-605

Published: 13 October 2010



This study examines the underlying characteristics of adolescents attending Italian secondary school who expressed indifference towards or no interest at all in body art.


A convenience sample of 4,277 secondary school students from the North Eastern Italy were surveyed with a self-reported questionnaire collecting extensive socio-demographic information. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was employed to investigate the characteristics of those who were not interested or indifferent towards piercing and tattoo, reporting adjusted Odds Ratios (aOR) with a 99% confidence interval (CI).


Prevalence of tattoo was 6%, whereas body piercing was 20%; 66% (= 558/840) of those with a piercing were underage (<18 years of age), the equivalent for tattoo being 62% (= 159/258). 166 individuals reported having both piercing and tattoo and 152 of these (92% = 152/166) were <18 years of age. The factors found to be predominately higher in those indifferent or who did not indicate interest in body art were: lower school year, increasing father's education and a greater perception of the associated health risks.


Proactive health education campaigns by school educators and family physicians should focus on adolescents of less educated fathers and pupils less aware of the health risks associated with body art. In this respect junior secondary school students can be regarded as the ideal target of such campaigns.