Mapping the Clothing Taskscape: Apparel Needs in Rehabilitation Therapy

  • Author / Creator
    Tullio-Pow, Sandra R
  • Dressing is an activity taken for granted until a person’s balance and synchronized movements are impaired due to illness, injury, disease, or surgery. This study conceptualized and operationalized the clothing taskscape (CT)—selecting, shopping, dressing, toileting, eating, exercising, sleeping, laundering, and storing—to analyze apparel needs and ways people who have experienced a disabling event interact with clothing. The CT was designed to: map the use scenario and identify the relationship between personal ability and clothing environment; determine compensatory interventions in terms of clothing modifications that improve functional abilities; and distinguish how clothing and independence in dressing enhance well-being and self-image in rehabilitation therapy (RT). The study was framed by a 2-part research question: What factors along the CT impact functional limitations and self-image for people in hospital RT programs, and how can such criteria inform design to address this population’s needs? Ethnographically oriented methods were used to examine the clothing context and its meaning to people through field observation of RT sessions and patient routines with personal support workers (PSWs; n=46), and interviews with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, PSWs, and patients (n=34). Precedent analysis was used to source and evaluate clothing in the marketplace; specific garments were purchased and used as probes to invite dialogue during participant interviews and to gauge receptivity to garment innovations. Results reveal patients’ experience related to clothing, disability, and functioning as well as clothing’s social and psychological aspects. Design recommendations are made to mediate difficulties people have when dressing in relation to fabric choices, garment silhouettes and fasteners, circumference of garment openings, dual waistbands, pockets, loops, and visual clues to guide garment orientation and product development opportunities. Study results may impact fashion designers, specialized product developers, design educators, and rehabilitation therapists.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ruppert-Stroescu, Mary (Human Sciences)
    • Bissonnette, Anne (Human Ecology)
    • Devlieger, Patrick (Anthropology)
    • Yu, Xiaokun (Fashion Design & Engineering)
    • Ashdown, Susan (Human Ecology)