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Title: An exploratory study on finger knitting-facilitated therapy
Authors: Yao, Mei Yu
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Mental health issues were common yet serious problems that should be confronted by everyone. People used many different methods to cope with their stress or negative mood. Recently, more and more people try to ease mental health problems or alleviate tense life by various psychotherapies, such as art therapy. The usual method related to "fashion" is retail therapy. However, the effectiveness of those methods was uncertain and some of them even bring drawbacks. Therefore, this study suggests a new "fashion" therapy to improve mental health. Finger knitting, a form of knitting, is employed for this purpose. It has numerous benefits, including easing stress and calming. Also, it is a relatively easy that can be performed by various age groups. Nevertheless, people can still design and make unique knitwear by applying their own style. Thus they gain a sense of achievement and it could be considered as a tool for self-expression and discovering one's inner world. Its major benefits are categorized as (1) nature or movements; (2) stimulation of visual and tactile sensation; (3) structural yet creative; and (4) social involvement and confidence. Therefore, this study aims to develop an innovative knitting-facilitated therapy by finger knitting to alleviate the stress and alter negative mood of people. Also, its potential to be adopted as a creative medium for self-expression and self-understanding is assessed. To achieve these objectives, three stages of testing are employed. In the first stage, it aims to find out the immediate impacts of finger knitting on self-esteem. Pre-posttest study is used and State Self-Esteem Scale is employed to measure the level of performance, social and appearance self-esteem. By comparing to the controlled group, tested group shows change in state self-esteem. The result shows that finger knitting is effective to improve state self-esteem of performance and social but not appearance.
In the second stage, undergraduates and elderly are invited as targets. Both of them join a 4-week finger knitting program separately to investigate the effectiveness of finger knitting in improving mood and enhancing self-esteem. For objective test, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales and Depression Anxiety Stress Scales are adopted for undergraduates test while a special designed questionnaire is used for elderly test. For subjective test, informal interviews and observation are employed to collect the insights and experience while thematic analysis is adopted for formal analysis. For the undergraduates test, the theme are on (1) calming and relaxation effect; (2) self-confidence and satisfaction; (3) social involvement and; (4) active lifestyle and productivity. In the test for the elderly, the themes are (1) warmth and happiness; (2) sense of life meaning and self-worth; (3) sense of involvement; and (4) social support and potential functional help. The result is strongly positive and the participants were extremely satisfied. It supports that finger knitting helps to improve self-esteem and facilitate mental health. It also provides a warm and comfort feeling. More than that, it encourages active lifestyle and social involvement. Also, the relationship between mood, self-esteem and finger knitting is clearly interacted. In the third stage, participants join a 9-week workshop to accomplish a knit piece or garment. There is no obvious difference that shows the difficulty of the end product will change the result. It is found that their perception towards the workshop is highly positive. The perception of the participants towards finger knitting is mainly categorized into "enjoyment", "peer support", "creativity" and "personal growth and empowerment". They find that it is a valuable learning experience with a bit challenging that contributes to personal growth. Moreover, it is found that participants were all able to use finger knitting as a medium to express their feelings and thoughts. The major themes of their knit piece or garment are (1) reflection/view towards the city; (2) view towards life or self-reflection; and (3) expression of feeling. From the above study, it demonstrates the effectiveness of finger knitting therapy, and it implies that psychotherapies may help in mental health issues. This study also develops the finger knitting methods and how to apply it as a therapy. A framework of finger knitting therapy is developed as the foundation. It shows the procedures of study, setting of the workshop, data collection methods and so on. This study serves as a pilot study associating fashion design, knitting with therapy. Thus, it helps to arouse more attention on mental health and encourages further study. Additionally, it shows there is certain relationship between mood, self-esteem and finger knitting. Though there are some limitations of this study, there are still plenty of benefits promoting finger knitting as a therapy. Hence, it is suggested that finger knitting has high potential to develop as a therapy and deserve for further investigation.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Knitting -- Therapeutic use
Art therapy
Pages: 179 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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