Sociocultural Evolution: An Examination of Unorthodox Elective Body Modification

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Body modification practices have become notably prevalent in the western world creating a need to re-evaluate the motivational factors that drive an individual to these practices and redefine how they are categorized in the psychology profession. Exploring the relationship between life events, age, gender, religiosity, personality type, and how these factors relate to the motivation to engage in various levels of body modification appears to be an approach less prevalent in the current literature. The goal of this study was to answer the main research question: Do the variables age, gender, life events, religiosity, and personality type collectively predict level of self-reported body modification? This study was non-experimental, utilizing self-report assessments to collect necessary data. Participants completed the assessments in person while attending a conference specifically for body art professionals. Data was analyzed quantitatively with IBM SPSS Statistics Version 23 software package using a multiple regression analysis. The variables age, gender, and spirituality were omitted from the regression analysis due to smaller than desired sample size. Personality type and life events served as the predictor variables with dimensions of body modification serving as the outcome variable with three categories: dimension of tattoos, quantity of piercings and quantity of extreme modifications defined as surgical procedures done outside of a medical setting by someone outside of the medical profession. Results indicated no correlation between the variables with the exception of quantity of extreme modifications and life events, which resulted in a statistically significant relationship. Suggestions for future study include replicating this study using a similar population but with a larger sample size to provide results that can be generalized across the body modification community.
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SOCIOCULTURAL EVOLUTION: AN EXAMINATION OF UNORTHODOX ELECTIVE BODY MODIFICATION by Stephanie Hutter-Thomas BARRY TRUNK, PhD, Faculty Mentor and Chair REBA GLIDEWELL, PhD, Committee Member BRIAN ZAX, PhD, Committee Member Andrea Miller, PhD, Dean of Psychology Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Capella University June 2017     ProQuest Number: 10601203     All rights reserved  INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted.  In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.      ProQuest 10601203  Published by ProQuest LLC (2017 ). Copyright of the Dissertation is held by the Author.   All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC.   ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106 - 1346 © Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, 2017 Abstract Body modification practices have become notably prevalent in the western world creating a need to re-evaluate the motivational factors that drive an individual to these practices and redefine how they are categorized in the psychology profession. Exploring the relationship between life events, age, gender, religiosity, personality type, and how these factors relate to the motivation to engage in various levels of body modification appears to be an approach less prevalent in the current literature. The goal of this study was to answer the main research question: Do the variables age, gender, life events, religiosity, and personality type collectively predict level of self-reported body modification? This study was non-experimental, utilizing self-report assessments to collect necessary data. Participants completed the assessments in person while attending a conference specifically for body art professionals. Data was analyzed quantitatively with IBM SPSS Statistics Version 23 software package using a multiple regression analysis. The variables age, gender, and spirituality were omitted from the regression analysis due to smaller than desired sample size. Personality type and life events served as the predictor variables with dimensions of body modification serving as the outcome variable with three categories: dimension of tattoos, quantity of piercings and quantity of extreme modifications defined as surgical procedures done outside of a medical setting by someone outside of the medical profession. Results indicated no correlation between the variables with the exception of quantity of extreme modifications and life events, which resulted in a statistically significant relationship. Suggestions for future study include replicating this study using a similar population but with a larger sample size to provide results that can be generalized across the body modification community. Dedication I would like to dedicate this Doctoral dissertation to the late John Jeffrey Hutter, Sr., my father and my hero. Although you are no longer with us physically, I will continue to use your wisdom as my guidance. You are missed more than words can say and although you will not be in the audience during my commencement, I take comfort knowing that you will be there in spirit, smiling proudly. iii Acknowledgments I would like to first acknowledge the inspirational instruction and guidance of the late Dr. Herb Hauser, my original dissertation mentor. May you rest in peace and thank you for all of your relentless encouragement. In addition, a huge thank you to Dr. Barry Trunk for being one of my favorite statistics professors and for his willingness to step in as my dissertation mentor after Dr. Hauser’s passing. Dr. Trunk, you have helped me more than you know with your knowledge and words of support. Thank you to my committee members Dr. Reba Glidewell and Dr. Brian Zax for their invaluable feedback, and to the professional body piercers who volunteered to participate in this study. Finally, gratitude must be shown to my loving and supportive husband, Joseph Thomas and my fabulous daughter, Madison Hutter. Without your support, I would have never made it through this journey. iv Table of Contents Acknowledgments .................................................................................................. iv List of Tables ........................................................................................................viii List of Figures......................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................ 1 Background of the Problem ..................................................................................... 1 Statement of the Problem ........................................................................................ 2 Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................ 2 Significance of the Study......................................................................................... 3 Research Questions ................................................................................................. 4 Definition of Terms ................................................................................................. 6 Research Design ...................................................................................................... 9 Assumptions and Limitations ................................................................................ 13 Assumptions ................................................................................................... 15 Limitations ..................................................................................................... 16 Organization of the Remainder of the Study ......................................................... 16 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................... 17 Methods of Searching ............................................................................................ 17 Theoretical Orientation for the Study .................................................................... 17 Review of the Literature ........................................................................................ 18 Findings ................................................................................................................. 38 Critique of Previous Research Methods ................................................................ 38 Summary................................................................................................................ 39 v CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................... 41 Research Questions and Hypotheses ..................................................................... 41 Research Design .................................................................................................... 43 Target Population and Sample............................................................................... 45 Population....................................................................................................... 45 Sample ............................................................................................................ 46 Power Analysis ............................................................................................... 46 Procedures ............................................................................................................. 47 Participant Selection ....................................................................................... 47 Protection of Participants ............................................................................... 48 Data Collection ............................................................................................... 48 Data Analysis ................................................................................................. 48 Instruments ............................................................................................................ 49 Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview(PERI) ................................... 49 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ......................................................................... 49 Unorthodox Elective Body Modification Dimensional Assessment.............. 50 The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) ............................................ 51 Ethical Considerations ........................................................................................... 51 Summary................................................................................................................ 52 CHAPTER 4. RESULTS................................................................................................... 54 Background............................................................................................................ 54 Description of the Sample ..................................................................................... 54 Hypothesis Testing ................................................................................................ 61 vi Summary................................................................................................................ 69 CHAPTER 5. DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS ................... 70 Summary of the Results......................................................................................... 70 Discussion of the Results....................................................................................... 70 Conclusions Based on the Results ......................................................................... 77 Limitations ............................................................................................................. 78 Implications for Practice........................................................................................ 78 Recommendations for Further Research ............................................................... 79 Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 79 REFERENCES .................................................................................................................. 80 STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL WORK ............................................................................ 87 vii List of Tables Table 1. Dimension of Tattoo Art and Correlations Between Categorical Variables ............. 57 Table 2. Quantity of Piercings and Correlation Between Categorical Variables ................... 57 Table 3. Quantity of Extreme Modifications (Non-Medical, Surgical Body Modification) and Correlation Between Categorical Variables .................................................... 58 Table 4. Crosstabulation of Participant Age by Gender .......................................................... 63 Table 5. Crosstabulation of Participant Ethnicity by Gender .................................................. 64 Table 6. Descriptive Statistics for UEBM Categories and Life Events ................................. 65 Table 7. Model Summary – Dimension of Tattoo Art ............................................................ 65 Table 8. ANOVA – Dimension of Tattoo Art ........................................................................ 66 Table 9. Beta Coefficients – Dimension of Tattoo Art ........................................................... 66 Table 10. Model Summary – Quantity of Piercing ................................................................ 66 Table 11. ANOVA – Quantity of Piercing .............................................................................. 67 Table 12. Beta Coefficients – Quantity of Piercing ............................................................... 67 Table 13. Model Summary – Quantity of Extreme Modifications (Non-Medical/Surgical) ................................................................................................................................................. 67 Table 14. ANOVA – Quantity of Extreme Modifications (Non-Medical/Surgical) .............. 68 Table 15. Beta Coefficients – Quantity of Extreme Modifications (Non-Medical/Surgical) ................................................................................................................................................. 68 Table 16. Personality Type Frequency .................................................................................... 74 Table 17. Descriptive Statistics – Religious Attendance......................................................... 75 Table 18. Descriptive Statistics – Religious Activity .............................................................. 76 Table 19. Descriptive Statistics of Entire Sample ................................................................... 77 Table 20. Descriptive Statistics of Gender ............................................................................. 77 viii List of Figures Figure 1. Plot of Standardized Residuals – Dimension of Tattoo Art .............................. 59 Figure 2. Plot of Standardized Residuals – Quantity of Piercings .................................... 60 Figure 3. Plot of Standardized Residuals – Quantity of Extreme Modifications (Non- Medical, Surgical Body Modification ) ................................................... 61 Figure 4. Frequency Distribution – Intrinsic Religiosity................................................... 76 ix CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Background of the Problem Body modification has been loosely defined as the pursuit of a desired personal aesthetic, often in contrast with social norms, using unconventional methods (Adams, 2007, 2009). It has often been argued that all aesthetic alterations to the body, even those considered socially desirable, can be viewed as a form of body modification. In fact, even simple semi-permanent practices such as changing hair color, painting the fingernails and cosmetic dentistry, have all been considered forms of this practice. Body modification has been considered a form of mutilation in more conservative circles, however socially acceptable modifications are often overlooked due to social desirability (Rivardo & Keelan, 2010). Prior studies have shown conflicting results when attempting to explore potential psychological motivators including personality type, sexual deviance (Koziel, Kretschmer, & Pawlowski, 2010; Stirn, Oddo, Peregrinova, Philipp, & Hinz, 2011), and various other pathological indicators (Brooks, Woods, Shrier, 2003; Crossley, 2005; Guéguen, 2012; Stirn, 2003; Stirn, Hinz, & Brahler, 2006; Wohlrab, Stahl, Rammsayer, & Kappeler, 2007; Unrug, Tomkins, & Radwan, 2004). There are many sectors of society that stand to be affected by this growing community, including professional fields such as physical health, mental health, organizational leadership, business management and youth education (Brown, Perlmutter, & McDermott, 2001; Chung & Monroe, 2003; Deschesnes, Demers, & Finès, 2006; Dukes & Stein, 2011; Firmin, Tse, Foster, & Angelini, 2008; Greif & Armstrong, 1999; Jancin, 2005; Schramme, 2008; Stirn, 2003; 1 Swanger, 2006). For some, body modification is considered a lifestyle choice (Sweetman, 1999) focusing largely on the freedom of choice and self-expression (Romanienko, 2011; Stebbins, 1997). Despite potential social challenges and professional rejection, the desire to deviate from social norms is greater than any concern for negative implications (Bailey, 2002; Blair, 2002; Brallier, 2011; Cortez, 2013; Cronon, 2001; Deschesnes, Demers, & Finès, 2006; Maroto, 2011; Resenhoeft, Villa, & Wiseman, 2008; Tabassum, 2013; Wohlrab, Stahl, & Kappeler, 2007). Statement of the Problem A review of current literature depicted a pattern of sampling procedures not appropriate for producing results that can be generalized (Tate, & Shelton, 2008). In addition to these shortcomings in sample selection, there has been significant neglect in examining this subculture using any criteria outside of sexual deviance, substance abuse, and pathology. As the body art renaissance continues to grow within popular culture, the need to develop an understanding of this counter-culture phenomenon and the underlying motivations increase exponentially (Atkinson, 2004; Tiggemann, & Golder, 2006). Purpose of the Study Classified as mutilation or self-harm, body modification often finds itself classified along side disorders such as anorexia and cutting by both psychology and medical professionals (Adler & Adler, 2007; Baity, Blais, Hilsenroth, Fowler & Padawer, 2009; Chapman, Gratz, & Brown, 2006). In contrast, other circles often appear to marginalize body modification practices as merely fashion accessories or associate the lifestyle with attention seeking, sexual deviance, and promiscuity. These assumptions may be true regarding some portion of the body modification community, however the same can be said for any cultural group if examined thoroughly (Sweetman, 1999). The human condition as experienced by members of this community has 2 essentially been dismissed, with only a minimal number of published studies attempting to examine this population beyond these few categories (Fisher, 2002). The vacancies found within the current literature serve to support false societal perceptions, inadvertently contributing to negative stereotyping and ultimately stereotype threat behavior (Cano & Sams, 2010; Martin, & Dula, 2010). Previous researchers have indicated the need for further study consisting of stronger sampling methods, clear delineation of lifestyle participation based on dimension or quantity of body art and an examination of other common psychological characteristics Significance of the Study At this time, body modification is frequently categorized with other pathological disorders such as cutting, body dysmorphic issues and various other forms of self-harm and/or identity crisis according to existing literature (Adams, 2009). This further complicates the understanding of issues regarding societal tolerance and peer acceptance in the workplace while potentially polluting the current knowledge base of critical mental health disorders. Through nurturing an understanding of these personal practices, the psychology profession may begin to establish appropriate means of differentiating self- adornment from self-harm (Strenger, 2009). Body modification practices have become notably prevalent in the western world, further nurtured by entertainment, media, and fashion trends. This resurgence of body art popularity has created a need to re-evaluate and redefine the motivational factors that drive an individual to these practices. Exploring the relationship between life events, age, gender, religiosity, personality type, and how these factors relate to the motivation to engage in various levels of body modification is an approach not currently present in the majority of literature. This research serves to improve knowledge of motivations and the mental state of body modification enthusiasts while creating a new enlightened profile of the modified person. This improved 3 understanding may also serve to benefit various professional fields including organizational and clinical psychology, as well as nursing and health care (Caliendo, Armstrong, & Robert, 2005; Carroll, & Anderson, 2002; Chivers, 2002; Fisher, 2002; Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll, 2005) This particular study attempted to expand on existin
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