Factors which can affect the preferences of the elderly for hand pruners
Pitt, Ellen J.
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Preferences for four types of hand pruners were solicited from an active elderly population and these preferences were analysed in relation to anthropometric and demographic characteristics of sample members. Participants at senior multipurpose centers included thirty-four females and sixteen males ranging from fifty-two to eighty-three years of age. The subjects were surveyed individually in a single session in which the investigator asked selected demographic questions, measured their grip strength and hand length and recorded their ranking and evaluation of four pruners. The independent variables included, age, sex, hand length, grip strength, dwelling, problems with hands, and experiences with hand pruners. Relationships between sex and hand size, and sex and grip strength were assessed with t-testing. The four pruners were chosen to reflect the following combinations: hook and blade with simple lever, anvil and blade with simple lever, hook and blade with compound lever, and anvil and blade with ratchet mechanism. Other characteristics included handle design and weight. The Friedman ranking test was used to determine the factors which significantly affected pruner preferences. Of the variables measured, sex, hand size, grip strength, and type of residence were associated with pruner preference. Of those groups displaying significant results from the Friedman ranking tests, only the group containing the top third strongest grip strengths showed a rank order with the compound lever pruner higher than the simple lever hook and blade pruner. T-tests showed relationships between sex and hand length, and sex and grip strength. The simple levered anvil and blade pruner placed highest in all significant rankings while the compound and ratchet were placed low in the rankings. The compound pruner did not appeal to many of the participants because of by its heaviness and the design of its handles while the ratchet pruner was resisted because of the multiple squeezes needed for proper use. Recommendations for choosing pruners and other hand tools were made along with suggestions for further investigations of factors affecting preferences for hand tools.
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