Tattoo Acquisition and the Resolution of Childhood Trauma

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McCloskey-Styka, Jennifer
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify a potential correlation between tattoos as a positive, creative form of self-expression and the possibility to heal from childhood trauma. The research participants were male and female, adults ages 18 and older who reported having tattoos and some history of childhood trauma. A survey questionnaire was utilized to gather responses regarding the feelings participants had pre- and post-tattoo acquisition. The second phase of research included the analysis of the data that was gathered from the survey. The results of the pilot study revealed that the participants viewed tattoos as a possible healing mechanism in the emotional resolution of trauma. A benefit of this research allowed for those with tattoos to express how the images of their tattoos were a type of healing art form. This in turn reduced the stigma placed on those with tattoos. Future research with a larger population over an extended period, would generate additional data confirming the theme of healing among adults using tattoos as an art form of self-expression.