Prevalence of tattooing and knowledge about health risk associated with it among adolescent school students in Manipur, North-eastern India: a cross-sectional study

Joymati Oinam, Akoijam Brogen Singh, Yumnam Ningthemba Singh


Background: Tattooing has emerged as common activity among adolescents. Therefore, it is important to informed adolescents about possible health hazards associated with it. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of tattooing and knowledge of health risks associated with it among higher secondary students and association between knowledge on risk factors with selected socio-demographic variables.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from September to October 2015 among 1325 students studying in class XI and XII in Thoubal district of Manipur in Northeast India. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Based on the obtained score, knowledge was divided into adequate and inadequate. Descriptive statistics like mean (SD) and percentages were used. Chi-square test was used for testing the significance and p<0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Total of 1378 students participated in the study. Almost all the students (99.5%) have heard of tattoo but only 75 of them (5.5%) had ever tattooed. Majority (87%) of the students had inadequate knowledge. Ever tattooed was more among male students compared to female. There was significant association between adequate knowledge and male students, parents who had secondary and above education. Significant association was found among those who had adequate knowledge and risk of transmission of disease through tattooing.

Conclusions: Prevalence of ever tattooed was 5.5%. Though majority of the participants had heard of tattoo but most of them had inadequate knowledge about health risk associated with tattooing.


Prevalence, Tattoo, Adolescents, Students, Knowledge, India

Full Text:



Montgomery DF, Parks D. Tattoos: counseling the adolescent. J Pediatr Health Care. 2001;15(1):14-9.

Kaatz M, Elsner P, Bauer A. Body-modifying concepts and dermatologic problems: tattooing and piercing. Clin Dermatol. 2008;26(1):35-44.

Stirn A. Body piercing: medical consequences and psychological motivations. Lancet. 2003;361:1205-15.

Yen CF, Hsiao RC, Yen JY, Yeh YC, Wang PW, Lin HC et al. Tattooing among high school students in Southern Taiwan, the prevalence, correlates and association with the risk taking behavior and depression. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2012;28(7):383-9.

Mayers LB, Chiffriller SH. Body art (body piercing and tattooing) among undergraduate university students: “then and now”. J Adolesc Health. 2008;42(2):201-3.

Armstrong ML, Roberts AE, Owen DC, Koch JR. Contemporary college students and body piercing. J Adolesc Health. 2004;35:58-61.

Bone A, Ncube F, Nicols T, Noah ND. Body Piercing in England: a survey of piercing at sites other than the earlobe. BMJ. 2008;336:1426-28.

Armstrong ML, Pace Murphy K. Tattooing: Another adolescent risk behavior warranting health education. Applied Nursing Res. 1997;10(4):181-9.

Roberts TA, Ryan SA. Tattooing and high-risk behavior in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2002;110(6):1058-63.

Laumann AE, Derick AJ. Tattoos and body piercings in the United States: a national data set. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;55(3):413-21.

Stirn A, Hinz A, Brähler E. Prevalence of tattooing and body piercing in Germany and perception of health, mental disorders, and sensation seeking among tattooed and body-pierced individuals. J Psychosom Res. 2006;60(5):531-4.

Mataix J, Silvestre JF. Cutaneous adverse reactions to tattoos and piercings. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2009;100(8):643-56.

Kaatz M, Elsner P, Bauer A. Body-modifying concepts and dermatologic problems: tattooing and piercing. Clin Dermatol. 2008;26:35-44.

Haley R, Fischer R. Commercial tattooing as a potentially important source of hepatitis C infection: clinical epidemiology of 626 consecutive patients unaware of their hepatitis C serologic status. Medicine. 2001;80:134e51.

Nishioka S, Gyorkos T. Tattoos as risk factors for transfusion transmitted diseases. Int J Infect Dis. 2001;5:27-34.

Deschesnes M, Demers S, Fines P. Prevalence and characteristic of body piercing and tattooing among high school students in Quebec. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2006;97(4):325-9.

Galle F, Mancusi C, Onafrio VDV, Visciano A, Alfano V, Mastronuzzi R, et al. Awareness of health risk related to body practices among youth in Naples, Italy. BMC Public Health 2011;11(625).

Thakur BK, Verma S. Tattoo Practices in North-east India: A Hospital-based Cross-sectional Study. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2016;9(3):172–6.

Moorthy TN, Gunasekaram J, Asmuje NF. Study on tattooing culture in Peninsular Malaysia. Int Ann Adv Sci Res. 2015;2(2):46-56.

Quaranta A, Napoli C, Fasano F, Montagna C, Caggiano G, Montagna MT. Body piercing and tattoos: a survey on young adults’ knowledge of the risks and practices in body art BMC Public Health. 2011;11:774.

Makkai T, McAllister I. Prevalence of tattooing and body piercing in the Australian community. Commun Dis Intell. 2001;25:67-72.