Evaluating body modification as a social stigma: Using Latent Class Analysis to determine dimensions of stigmatization

Julie DiPopolo, Fordham University


Individuals with body modifications are members of a stigmatized group, however research does not suggest how individuals with different body modifications may differ in relation to dimensions of stigmatization and resulting perceived discrimination The current study surveyed members of an online body modification community about their current modifications and compared Latent Class Analysis (LCA) and Principal Components Analysis (PCA) results on the items in four samples: individuals with piercings only, tattoos only, piercings and tattoos, and all individuals combined. Results of both the LCA and PCA suggest that it is not necessary to evaluate these samples separately, and the entire sample can used to represent these individuals. The LCA results also provided more useful and interpretable groups than the PCA. LCA for the entire sample found three classes of individuals: those with visible tattoos and few piercings, those with visible piercings and few tattoos, and those with few modifications in general. These groups were significantly different on dimensions of stigmatization (visibility, commonness, and threatening nature), and showed expected relationships with perceived discrimination (i.e., the more stigmatized dimensions also showed more perceived discrimination). These classes can be used in future research to determine the most representative items of each class, create groups for experimental designs, investigate experiences of discrimination unique to these classes, or extend this research to other types of body modifications.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Quantitative psychology

Recommended Citation

DiPopolo, Julie, "Evaluating body modification as a social stigma: Using Latent Class Analysis to determine dimensions of stigmatization" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3452807.