Clothing Behavior as Predictor of Self-Confidence among Adolescent Girls

By Johar, Sonal Madan; Kashyap, Radha et al. | Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Clothing Behavior as Predictor of Self-Confidence among Adolescent Girls


Johar, Sonal Madan, Kashyap, Radha, Kulshreshtha, Usha, Indian Journal of Positive Psychology


Clothing and clothing behavior: Clothing is a significant symbol of one's identity, mood and attitudes by which meaning is established in social transactions. Clothing not only satisfies basic physiological needs for survival along with food and shelter, but also satisfies psychosocial needs. (Kwon, 1997). Ojo and Bidewi (2008) suggested that clothing habits depict partly the kind of behavior and attitude a person could exhibit at any time and that clothing is an extension of personality since it is possible to infer the kind of person one is from one's attitude and dressing habit.

Clothing provides a unique and satisfying experience for individuals as it is utilized by everyone and everyday of life (Brookshire & Hodges, 2009). Clothing behavior, in a broader sense, refers to the choice and selection of clothing, the amount of time and money spent on clothing and the manner in which clothing is worn (Hwang, 1996). Through clothing behavior, one can beautify the appearance, make the physical self more desirable, increase acceptance by the group and prevent rejection. Every day we spend some amount of time to decide about which clothes to wear and a lot of time goes in decision making while selecting and purchasing clothes (Jain, 2011).

The various clothing variables investigated so far have been broadly classified as "clothing behavior". Clothing behavior is a multidimensional discipline and its dimensions have been delineated, defined, and conceptualized into various behavioral elements such as clothing attitudes, clothing awareness, clothing values, clothing consciousness, proximity of clothing to self, clothing interest, importance of clothing and perceived clothing deprivation.

Clothes are related to the concept of self (Kaiser, 1990). Therefore, it seems practical that judgments about others, particularly regarding clothing, might reflect the point of view of one's own self as measured by various clothing-related instruments. Proximity of clothing to self (Sontag & Schlater, 1982) is one such clothing dependent variable which may be used as a framework by individuals when making judgments about clothed strangers. This measure was developed to tap the psychological closeness of clothing to self.

Perception of clothing is another clothing related variable which explains the level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction an individual has with his/her clothing. It is an important aspect of clothing behavior of an individual as clothing behaviors are ruled by the level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with his clothing.

Clothing during adolescence: Adolescence is known to be the most troublesome period of life of an individual. It is a "recent cultural invention" (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2000). According toNagar, Sharma and Chopra (2008), adolescence is a concept encompassing physical and emotional stages of transition from childhood to adulthood. With the dramatic physical changes and development, adolescents worldwide find themselves in a situation characterized by an uncertain status and events which might affect concept of their own. Adolescence is a time of rapid development of growing to sexual maturity, discovering one's real self, defining personal values and finding one's vocational and social direction (Pastey & Aminbhavi, 2006).

Adolescents normally have a great interest in clothes and in their own appearance. Of all the social groups, teenagers are one of the groups that attach the most importance to fashion and physical appearance in general (Bouchard, 2002). To signal belongingness, and to distinguish themselves from others, groups of young people adopt styles of dress that express their particular distinct identity (Ojo & Bidewi, 2008). Teens' conformity to clothing patterns occurs as part of social interactions and represents a major factor in peer acceptance.

Proximity of clothing to self: The proximity of clothing to self concept has evolved within the context of quality of life theory building and assessment; and has been useful in explaining the contribution of clothing to perceived life quality (Sontag, 1978/1979). …

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