This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Understanding Tween Girls' Self Perception and Clothing Behavior: A Conceptual Framework




Sancheti, Yukti

Type of Degree



Consumer Affairs


Defined as children “in between” younger kids and teens, tweens have been called confident, high-tech, and market savvy (Simon, 2001). In this study, tween girls, were defined as ages 9 to 14 years. Tweens compose a multi-billion dollar market, impacting sales directly and indirectly. Clothing purchases garner a major portion of tweens’ spendable income. How tweens relate to clothing is influenced by several factors. This research created a conceptual framework to examine factors affecting tween clothing behavior and self concepts. Factors of interest were social (peer and family influence), psychological (self-esteem, body image, body dissatisfaction and features of attractiveness), environmental (media exposure), physical (age and body size), and clothing attributes. It was proposed that these factors affect both self-perception and clothing behavior. The research also aimed at understanding the physical and social-psychological dimensions of plus sized tween girls’ clothing needs. Data were collected through online surveys. Surveys were collected in pairs from mothers and their daughters between ages 9 and 14 years. Of the 1040 completed questionnaires, 1037 were found to be usable. Relationships proposed within framework were examined statistically. Data were analyzed looking at tweens as a total group, by size (normal or plus) and by age (9-11 or 12-14). Mothers’ behavior impacted their daughters’ self perceptions and influenced their behavior as consumers. Peer influence increased with age, significantly for older girls’ buying and wearing decisions. Tween segments differed significantly in most of the relationships, including the following: perceptions of satisfaction with body, body image, self-esteem and weight concerns; ratings of features of attractiveness; involvement with media; interaction with friends; peer and parental influence; and self reliance in buying and wearing decisions. When characterized by size, plus sized girls (compared with normal sized girls) were more dissatisfied with their bodies and had lower self perceptions. Older girls (compared to younger girls) were more dissatisfied with their bodies, had lower self perceptions, were less influenced by parents in buying and wearing decisions, and were more self-reliant. Among desirable clothing attributes, tween girls preferred clothes that looked best on them, fit them well and were comfortable.