The role of clothing in developing self-worth• among pre-adolescents: a case of primary schools in Kasarani Division, Nairobi Kenya
Maiyo, Chepchumba Rael
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Throughout history, clothing has always been regarded as one of the primary needs of a human being and primary needs must be fulfilled before secondary needs are fulfilled. Self-worth, one of the secondary needs consists of self-concept and selfesteem. It is during the pre-adolescent period that a child starts defining self and this determines perception of self-worth. The purpose of this study therefore, was to investigate on issues related to clothing satisfaction of the pre-adolescents and how it influences their perception of self-worth. The objectives of the study were to: determine the pre-adolescent's socio-economic background and demographic characteristics, establish how the pre-adolescents acquired their clothing and factors considered in the selection, establish the extent to which the pre-adolescents were satisfied with their clothing and assess their perception of self-worth, establish the relationship between the pre-adolescent's satisfaction with clothing and their perception of self-worth, and also relationship between clothing satisfaction with variables such as their involvement in clothing selection and their socio-economic background and demographic characteristics. This study was a survey research conducted in six primary schools in Kasarani Division of Nairobi Province, using an interview schedule and an essay. A sample of 144 pre-adolescents was selected by stratified and simple random sampling methods. <; Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed. The findings showed that most of the pre-adolescent's parents/guardians were educated, employed and resided in the urban area. The majority of the respondents had their clothing mainly bought for by their parents; open-air markets selling second-hand clothes being where most clothes were mainly bought. Most pre-adolescents were mainly involved in their clothing selection. What is accepted by parents and peers were the socio-cultural factors that always influenced pre-adolescent's clothing selection while size and colour were the most influential among the factors related to clothing characteristics. The majority of them were satisfied with their clothing and attributed size and colour to clothing satisfaction. Most of them had a high perception of self-worth in relation to their clothing. There was significant relationship between clothing satisfaction and self-worth, clothing satisfaction and involvement in clothing selection. No significant relationships were found between clothing satisfaction and variables such school type, gender, age and highest education attained by respondent's mothers. It was concluded that through symbolic interaction with significant others and peer group members, clothing satisfaction plays a significant role in increasing the preadolescent's self-worth and therefore issue such like involvement in clothing selection which affects pre-adolescent's clothing satisfaction should be considered by those involved with pre-adolescents' clothing. For instance parents should involve their children in their clothing selection, school policy makers who deal with school uniforms and designers of children's clothing should always seek the children's opinion when dealing with their designs. Clothing scholars should also emphasize on the symbolic implication of clothing satisfaction to social interaction and its significant role in increasing self-worth, local designers should improve their designs and further research should be done on clothing in relation to other psychological Issues.