New Research Says Women With 4 Or More Tattoos Have Much Higher Self-Esteem

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A recently released study confirms what many tattooed women will gladly tell you: ritual body art is a type of emotional therapy that boosts your self-esteem.

Sociologists at Texas Tech University found that female college students with multiple tattoos were more likely to have attempted suicide, but at the same time, the women reported higher levels of self-esteem. Male students with four or more tattoos were also more likely to have attempted suicide at some point.

Researchers think that tattoos don’t create the suicidal tendencies, but are actually a healing mechanism for them. Women see tattoos as reclaiming their bodies from their pasts. This makes sense, given how many women opt to get tattoos to cover scars from domestic abuse, self-harm and sometimes mastectomies.

“Just as breast cancer survivors and abuse victims acquire tattoos and piercings to restore physical losses, we think the women in our study may be trying to restore emotional losses with more tattoos,” concluded the researchers.