LONG BEACH- (562) 363-5003 / 1180 N. Studebaker Rd. #G, Long Beach, CA 90815 Piercing Services are from 11am to 7pm each day except for holidays. Please scroll down for information for our Torrance services.

An Examination Of Unorthodox Elective Body Modification

John’s friend, Dr. Stephanie Hutter-Thomas wrote her dissertation on the subject of body modification and she was kind enough to allow us to share her research with you. Read the abstract below and follow the link to continue. Many of you are CSULB students so we hope you enjoy.


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 questionnaires to collect necessary data. Participants completed the assessments in person while attending the 2016 conference for the Association of Professional Piercers (APP).  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.

About the Author/Researcher:

Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, PhD: With a decade of experience as a body art professional and studio owner, civic engagement, advocacy and education have become the areas of focus for Dr. Hutter-Thomas. Her passionate interest in research and education has led her to form the company Bodies of Knowledge which will serve as a platform for body art education, future independent research, publication and other academic works. Dr. Hutter-Thomas earned a BS degree in Accounting from Frostburg State University in 2001 and went on to earn both a Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology and a PhD in Psychology, both from Capella University. As a founding board member of the Association of Body Art Professionals (ABAP),

Dr. Hutter-Thomas was an active contributor in recent regulatory updates relating to the Ohio Body Art Industry. Although no longer a studio owner or body art practitioner, Dr. Hutter-Thomas continues to work within the body art profession as a researcher, speaker and educator in addition to her employment as the Distance Learning Coordinator for Allegany College of Maryland’s Adult Basic Education Program and C.O.A.T. Program Management Specialist for Frostburg State University’s Office of Civic Engagement.  Her professional memberships and prior affiliations include the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), American Psychological Association (APA), Cognitive Science Society (CSS), International Suspension Alliance (ISA), Soroptimist International of Frostburg, Frostburg Alumni Association and Capella University Alumni Association.

You can read Dr. Hutter’s Dissertation here.

John Johnson
John Johnson is a professional body piercer at New Flower Studio in Long Beach, CA. He's also a Red Cross instructor and authorized OSHA trainer. He manages the online curriculum for the Association of Professional Piercers and is a member of ASTM International.