Clothing Fashionability and Students with a Disability: Impressions of Social and Mental Competencies

Donna J. Nisbett, Kim K.P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of clothing fashionability and gender of a student with a disability, in combination with a perceiver’s gender and affiliation with an individual with a disability, upon impressions of social and mental competencies of a student with a disability. Subjects were 183 undergraduates who each received a questionnaire and photograph depicting either a male or female wearing fashionable or unfashionable clothing while seated in a wheelchair. Subjects indicated their impressions of the stimulus by responding to a social desirability scale, a social competence scale, and a mental competence scale. Data were analyzed using analyses of variance and the Neuman-Keuls test. Results suggest that, for female students with a disability, wearing unfashionable clothing can be detrimental when others are forming impressions of mental competence. Results from subjects in this study did not support the notion that wearing fashionable clothing could lessen the salience of a disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes


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