Elderly women and activewear : their preferences and fitting problems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vm40xv302

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  • The purpose of this study was to determine whether women aged 65 and older are wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants for activewear, and, if so, to investigate the types of activities they are worn for, reasons for wearing, feature preferences, and fitting problems. While sweatshirts and sweatpants have been popularly worn by younger generations, there is little published research on their wear by the elderly. A convenience sample of 222 female members aged 65 and older taken from 34 Family and Community Education (FCE) extension study groups within four counties in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon was used in the research. A questionnaire-survey was administered at FCE meetings to provide quantitative and qualitative data. Eighty-three percent or 185 participants affirmatively answered to wearing either sweatshirts, sweatpants, or both garments of sweats attire. The largest percentage of respondents (43%) reported they "Usually wear sweatshirts and sometimes wear sweatpants". Activities with the highest frequency cited by respondents for wearing sweats attire included (in descending order): (a) exercise, (b) home-based indoor activities and situations, and (c) outdoor activities and situations. During the winter, 79% of the participants wore sweats attire frequently (a minimum of 2-3 times per week). Extremely important reasons cited for wearing sweats attire were "Warmth" and "Easy to care for or launder". The most highly desired features in sweats attire included: pullover sweatshirts with raglan sleeves, sweatpants with an elastic waistband and pockets, medium thick/medium weight, cotton/manufactured fiber blends, fleece interior, and muted colors that hide soil. Clothing size was more frequently related to these preferences than health status or age. Excess lengths of sleeves and pant legs, and tight, high necklines were the most frequent fitting problems cited. ANOVA and Newman-Keuls Multiple Comparison Procedure were used to analyze relationships. Poor health status and increased fitting problems showed a statistically significant relationship at p≤.01. Sweats attire provoked either very positive or very negative written comments. Non-wearing participants reacted negatively to the appearance and warmth of sweats attire, whereas, wearing-participants reacted strongly to benefits of comfort and warmth. Practical for lifestyle and easy manageability when dressing and undressing were also high considerations for positive respondents. Additional uses cited by respondents for sweats attire included sleepwear. The findings imply that sweats attire is frequently worn by active, older Oregon women for casual, familiar activities, situations, and environments. Also implied is the need for manufacturers and retailers to recognize the diversity of this heterogeneous population. Stereotypical images and clothing styles can be challenged to address the elderly population's needs for clothing comfort and current style, while offering functionality with such special features as extra pockets; shorter lengths with adequate torso ease; wider, lower necklines for postural changes; light weight fabrics with warmth; and easy-care finishes.
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