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Etched in the Skin: Grief on a Living Canvas - Memorial Tattoos as Expressions of Grief

SWANN-THOMAS, Barbara, FLEMING, Susan and BUCKLEY, Emily (2021) Etched in the Skin: Grief on a Living Canvas - Memorial Tattoos as Expressions of Grief. Mortality. ISSN 1357-6275

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Abstract or description

This study was conducted to investigate how memorial tattoos impact upon the grieving process of individuals who wear them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on a 1:1 basis with six diverse individuals and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).

The findings suggest that memorial tattoos play a beneficial role within the grieving process and that they serve as a positive therapeutic tool. We found that memorial tattoos have five fundamental features: 1) Permanence, 2) A tool for managing grief, 3) Communicative tool, 4) Continuing bonds, 5) Transformation of self. As a result of our findings we recommend that a more flexible approach to the management of grief should be offered to bereaved individuals. We further propose that this study serves as a catalyst for the positive role memorial tattoos play in the grieving process and recommend further qualitative research to broaden our understandings of this area.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: grief; bereavement; memorial; tattoos; ritual
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Emily BUCKLEY
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2021 14:23
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2023 09:50

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