193911 Effect of maternal happiness and wantedness on breastfeeding duration over the first year: A Survival Analysis

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:30 AM

Sarah Martin-Anderson, MPP , Goldman School of Public Policy/School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
A large volume of public health research points to the positive effects of breastfeeding from nutritional and psychological perspectives. The decision whether to breastfeed a child is a complex one shaped by social and biological forces. This paper examines the effect of prenatal happiness and wantedness on the duration of breastfeeding in the first year of life.Utilizing the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, I explore the relationship between a woman's feelings towards her pregnancy and the effect of those feelings over the course of a baby's first year. Specifically, I use survival analysis to construct a model of the effect of maternal happiness and wantedness on the duration of breastfeeding from birth to age one. Kaplan Meir Graphs and Estimates, as well as Cox Proportional Hazards models are employed. Results indicate a significant difference (p<.05) between happy and unhappy mothers in the duration of breastfeeding, and a differential difference between Black and White mothers (with a stronger effect of unhappiness in the Black mother group). However, more exhaustive models that control for demographic characteristics show that wantedness, not happiness, is a more individually powerful predictor of early cessation of breastfeeding. Policy implications are also discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1) Compare the differences in breastfeeding duration by race for women who are happy or unhappy about their pregnancies 2) Differentiate between the concepts of happiness and wantedness regarding pregnancy 3) Identify possible policy changes regarding support for pregnant women at risk for early cessation

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Prenatal Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Master's Degree in Public Policy and am a current PhD/MPH student in Public Policy and Epidemiology/Biostatistics. My research interest, broadly, focuses on how policy shapes the choice environment of pregnant women, new mothers and their children. Specifically--how does policy incentivize sub-par choices, and how can it be altered to promote healthier ones?
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.