Personality traits influencing style adoption among the youth in South Africa

Venter, Marike
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Purpose – This study provides a theoretical framework that explores the personality traits that influence style adoption among the youth in South Africa. Five personality traits form part of the framework, namely fashion consciousness, the need for uniqueness, susceptibility to interpersonal influence, individualism/collectivism, and masculinity/femininity. Methodology – A quantitative approach was undertaken and the data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires among 400 university students. Established multi-item scales were adapted for the study, and a pilot test was used to confirm the validity of the multi-item scales and the correctness of the data-gathering procedure. Following the data gathering and coding, validity and reliability tests were carried out on the entire sample. A regression analysis was used to test the relationships between the constructs. Findings – The findings suggest that the dominant factors influencing style adoption are susceptibility to interpersonal influence and masculinity/femininity. Fashion consciousness, the need for uniqueness, individualism/collectivism and masculinity/femininity, influence the knowledge acquired of style. One’s attitude towards style is influenced by the need for uniqueness and masculinity/femininity. Research Limitations - The results of this study may not be appropriate for generalizing across the majority of youth culture in South Africa, and in a global context. However, understanding one segment of the youth may be beneficial to practitioners in South Africa, and may encourage exploration into other youth segments through continuous resampling and reassessment of difference ages and gender populations. Implications - By examining the youth and their sense of style, the study facilitates the possibility of consumer-behaviour research that not only includes style in a broad sense, but also explores post-modern and classic style expressions, thus providing a better understanding of modern youth culture in a local context, and the influence of their personality traits on style adoption.
Fashion, Style, Youth, Consumer preferences, South Africa