Skip To Main Content

The Effects of Tattoos and Occupation on Perception of Personal Qualities

Elizabeth Coulston, Haley Wershbale, Ashton Zartman
Ohio Northern University

Large amounts of research have been done on the negative effects tattoos play on first impressions and perceptions of personalities. However, not much has been done to investigate the personality traits that employers desire in potential employees and the effect tattoos have on the perception of these potential employees. This study looked at people's perceptions of tattooed individuals versus non-tattooed individuals with differing careers. Participants were shown a picture of a man and his wife on a screen while being read a short story. Using a 2 x 2 between groups study, the occupation of the man (lawyer/mechanic) as well as the presence of a tattoo (presence/absence) were changed. After the story, participants were asked to recall as much information as possible from the story and picture. Next, the participants rated the male on nine personality traits considered desirable in a potential employee using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from “not at all” to “very.” The total score served as the dependent variable. The first hypothesis was supported and indicated that the presence of a tattoo negatively affects employability. However, there was not a significant difference of employability between the lawyer and the mechanic. The hypothesized interaction between the tattoo presence or absence and the occupation type was not significant.

The Ohio Northern University Student Research Colloquium
Psychology and Sociology