Date of Conferral





Public Health


Raymond Panas


The incidence and prevalence of body piercing health complications among students is a public health matter that has not been researched in Puerto Rico. College students are the most consistent participants in body piercing activities and have reported health complications resulting in visits to medical offices and emergency rooms. Based on the health belief model, which is used to explain and predict health attitudes, the purpose of this quantitative nonexperimental study was to analyze the health risks and possible complications occurring after body piercing and to investigate the association between sex and age and medical complications. Data were collected from 64 nursing students from Puerto Rico who completed the Body Piercing Experience survey. Results of descriptive analyses and logistic regression analyses indicated no significant associations between sex and age and medical complications. Most participants reported they would repeat a body piercing after having knowledge of the health risks and complications of this activity. Results may be used in various ways: to change attitudes of health professionals and the general population regarding health implications related to body piercing; to develop educational programs for children, because results of this study revealed that piercing began in many participants at age 11; and to develop education through promotion and prevention programs with college students and others who engage in body piercing.