Fiber preferences of the elderly for thermal comfort in cold weather

Lydia L. Roper, Samina A. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted a survey of northwest Texas, Alabama, and Maryland to determine the elderly’s rationale for fiber preferences for indoor clothing during the winter months. The questionnaire elicited tactile responses to fabrics suitable for skirts or trousers, blouses or shirts, and sweaters; perceptions of the fiber content of garments worn indoors; attitudes toward wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers; and demographic data. We analyzed data for 249 respondents. Based on tactility, wool was preferred for skirts, pants, and jackets; polyester/cotton blend for blouses or shirts; and acrylic for sweaters. However, the fibers actually worn were synthetic fibers for dresses, blouses, or shirts, pants, jackets, slips, and hose, and wool for sweaters. Age, geographic location, education, and income had a significant(p ≤.05) influence on attitudes toward wool. Geographic location had a significant (p ≤.05) influence on attitudes toward synthetic fibers. There are numerous opportunities for educators to disseminate information on clothing and textiles to the elderly. Educators can incorporate into university courses the clothing and textiles preferences and needs of the elderly. Workshops and seminars could be held to sensitize manufacturers and retailers to the unique clothing concerns of the elderly. Educators should plan programs and work through gerontological organizations to apprise the elderly of new developments in fibers and clothing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-480
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989

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