Category: Social and Community Context

21 - Participation In A Knitting Group In Later Life: A Mixed-Methods Approach To Understanding Social Knitting And Well-Being

Knitting is a leisure activity that includes bimanual repetitive movement, consistent with other activities that induce the relaxation response and increase sense of well-being. Research indicates that knitting serves as an inexpensive, effective intervention positively influencing various bio-psycho-social aspects life. Scholarly publications, particularly among older adults are minimal. The purpose of this mixed-methods convergent study was to explore the reasons that older women knit or crochet and the influence of this activity on mood, perceived cognition, and social interaction, while also identifying the descriptors of the experience of knitting or crocheting in a group setting. Fifteen members of an established faith-based knitting/crochet group (females aged 55-95, mean 72.7) completed a structured survey, responded to open-ended written questions, and participated in a focus group interview. Data was analyzed using both SPSS and NVivo software. Knitting or crocheting was found to improve the mood of participants, and there was a moderate to strong positive relationship between knitting frequency and lower feelings of stress and depression (𝜏B = .727, p< = .644, p=.001, respectively). Perceived concentration and memory were also indicated as increased with knitting, and there was a moderately positive relationship between frequency of knitting and beneficial thought processes (𝜏B values between .5 and .559, p<.001 to .016). The longer participants had been in the group, the more they indicated improved mood. Themes from the qualitative data showed convergence, indicating that the group provided support, acceptance, and helped to favorably change the mindset of members. The group setting and charitable mission was an important aspect of the benefits to participants. While this is the first formal mixed-methods study to show this, the results are consistent with the effects of these activities in the literature in other settings and geographic locations.




Salome V. Brooks

Associate Professor
Springfield College
Springfield, Massachusetts

Dr. Salome V. Brooks is a core faculty member in the Physical Therapy Program, Springfield College, Springfield MA. Dr. Brooks’ areas of teaching includes professional practice/management, research, research writing skills and physical therapy foundations of practice. A co-coordinator of the Stroke Exercise Group conducted on the College campus, Dr. Brooks has the opportunity to directly engage with the aging in the Springfield community and introduce neurologically based skills to students within this service-learning activity. Her research interests and publications are focused in the following area; scholarship of teaching and learning, geriatric physical therapy, professional development.

Michele M. Suhie

Adjunct Professor
Sacred Heart University

Dr. Michele M. Suhie is a faculty member in the Exercise Science Program – Geriatric Health and Wellness Minor, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT. Dr. Suhie’s areas of teaching includes health promotion and disease prevention in later life, interprofessional geriatric education for pre-professional students, exercise immunology. Coordinator of the Geriatric Health and Wellness Minor, Dr. Suhie is able to bring the topics of multifaceted topics of aging to the pre-professional community broadening their perspective regarding the US population, definitions of health and society plus the true nature of patient-centered care. Her research interests are focused in the following areas; Tai Chi for health and fall prevention, physical activity among pre-frail adults, service learning and professional direction.

Michaela Lachance

Doctor of Physical Therapy Candidate
Sacred Heart University

Ms. Michaela Lachance S/PT is a second year student in the Physical Therapy Program, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT. Ms. Lachance holds an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science. Ms. Lachance has a special interest in the geriatric specialization.