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Tattooed people tend to be more aggressive than those without

Whose hands?
Whose hands?

People with tattoos are more likely to be aggressive and rebellious than those without, a study has found.

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University looked into whether the fact body art had become more mainstream in recent years - a trend influenced by the likes of footballer David Beckham and pop star Cheryl Cole - had affected traditional stereotypes.

They found that tattooed individuals reported significantly higher levels of verbal aggression, anger and rebelliousness compared with non-tattooed adults.

Professor Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at the university, said: "One explanation is that people who have higher reactive rebelliousness may respond to disappointing and frustrating events by getting tattooed.

"That is, when these individuals experience a negative emotional event, they may be more likely to react by pursuing an act that is seen as defiant.

"The act of tattooing is perceived as rebellious, or more generally tattoos themselves can signify defiance or dissent.

"On the other hand, there were no significant differences between tattooed and non-tattooed adults in proactive rebelliousness.

"It is possible that this form of rebelliousness, which is hedonistic and goal-driven, is at odds with the pain and permanence of tattoos."

She added that the study of 378 adults aged between 20 and 58 found that those with tattoos scored higher in terms of verbal aggression and anger.

"Although tattoos have now become commonplace in modern British society, our findings may have implications for understanding the reported associations between tattooing and risky behaviour among adults," she said.

The research, to be published in the next edition of the journal Body Image, also showed a correlation between the number of tattoos a person had and their levels of anger.