Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Mary Lynn Damhorst


The young adult market segment of Generation Y is likely to have developed different consumer behavior patterns from those of previous generations (Bakewell & Mitchell, 2003). What were the major macro-environment changes that shaped Generation Y's consumer behavior to be different to some extent from the generation of many of their parents, the Baby Boomers? Generation Y grew up during the shift that occurred from the late 20th century to the early 21st century. This time period is often referred to as the postmodern era (Henderson & DeLong, 2000) or the late capitalism period (Kaiser, Nagasawa, & Hutton, 1995).;The purpose of this study was to develop theory-based, validated measures of being postmodern in dress. The findings also enhance understanding of Generation Y's postmodern dress consumption behaviors. The main objectives of the study were (1) to generate belief items about dress from postmodern theories and previous literature; (2) to develop a second instrument that measures preferences for visual stimuli of postmodern styles; and (3) to evaluate construct, criterion, and content validities of the two developed instruments. The main hypothesis proposed was that there is a positive relationship between perceptions of visual stimuli of postmodern dress and scores on dimensions of the belief measure.;Dress belief and behavior items were generated from theory for the first measure and assessed for face validity by three researchers. Statements included 58 items related to postmodern ideals and to pre-postmodern ideals. Items were rated on a Likert-type, 7-point scale of agreement. For the second measure, 22 visual stimuli were selected from an initial 80 pictures of dressed bodies by three Textiles and Clothing researchers. Pictures were selected that incorporated components of postmodern style. Each picture was rated on three scales: "the outfit is attractive." "the outfit is cool," and "I would like to wear this." Pretest data was collected from a convenience sample of 25 students to check for usability of the items and to reduce the number of visual stimuli. Twelve of the visual stimuli were chosen from the pretest results for the main data collection questionnaire, based on degree of variability of responses. Only styles that had a wide range of responses on the three scales were selected.;A random sample of 3000 female students at a Midwestern university were invited by e-mail to participate in the main study. Respondents included 431 Gen Y female college students who were mostly juniors and seniors, probably due to the data collection period of summer school. Respondents were offered entry into a raffle for retail coupons as an incentive for participation.;Exploratory factor analysis was employed to test construct validity of the measure of being postmodern in dress. Principal components factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha were used to examine construct validity. Pearson correlations were conducted to test criterion validity. The four factors of the belief/behavior measure were "Preference for Uniqueness," "Brand and Rule Oriented," "Shopping Flexibility," and "Desire for Body Modification." Brand and Rule Oriented items describe modern or non-postmodern dress consumption, and the other factors were related to three dimensions of postmodern characteristics. Reliabilities ranged from .70 to .91.;A Postmodern score was created by summing across strongly weighted items on the three postmodern belief/behavior factors. The Postmodern score was positively correlated with the sum of all ratings of the Visual Stimuli; thus, Hypothesis 1 was supported, as was criterion validity of the measures. Participants who rated the postmodern visual stimuli more favorably were more likely to have higher scores on the postmodern in dress variable. Therefore, the belief/behavior and visual stimulus measures of postmodern dress were simultaneously validated.;Although postmodern theories have been studied and employed in the scholarship of Textiles and Clothing, no quantitative instruments that measure postmodern dress consumption behaviors and beliefs or perceptions of postmodern appearance were developed in previous studies. This study begins to fill that void and offers new insights about Generation Y consumer behavior toward dress. Use of the measures on more nationally representative samples is now necessary to establish external validity of the measures.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sunhee Park



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

123 pages