Tattoos linked to personality disorder in some

July 16th, 2008 - 12:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 16 (IANS) The presence of tattoos on criminally inclined psychiatric patients is linked with antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD, according to a new study. ASPD is characterised by several psychological and behavioural phenomena, including a lack of empathy and remorse, a low tolerance for anxiety and shallowness.

ASPD sufferers prefer action to thought and pathological lying, cheating, stealing, physical aggression and drug abuse are not uncommon.

To be diagnosed with ASPD, one must have developed this behaviour before the age of 15, and as such is qualitatively different from the idea of a scheming, dishonest businessman or politician, unless the behaviour began earlier in life.

As part of the study, psychiatrists at the Michigan Centre for Forensic Psychiatry studied 36 male indoor patients of a maximum-security state forensic psychiatric facility.

Around half of the subjects had been hospitalised because they were unfit to stand trial and the other half had been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Of the patients studied, 15 had tattoos and 17 were diagnosed as having ASPD. Of those with tattoos, 11 of 15, or 73 percent, had ASPD, whereas only six of 21, or 29 percent of those without tattoos had the same diagnosis.

The study also uncovered an increased likelihood for those with tattoos to have previously suffered from sexual abuse, abused substances or to have attempted suicide.

“Our findings suggest that forensic psychiatric inpatients with tattoos are significantly more likely to suffer from ASPD than those without tattoos,” said lead researcher William Cardasis.

“Patients with ASPD were also significantly more likely to have higher numbers of tattoos, a larger percentage of their body covered with tattoos, and tended to have tattoos in more visible locations.”

The findings of the study were published Tuesday in the latest issue of the journal Personality and Mental Health.

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