194426 Belief structure underlying attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control of the six-month exclusive breastfeeding behavior

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yeon Bai, PhD, RD , Department of Health and Nutrtion Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Shahla Wunderlich, PhD, RD, FACN , Department of Health and Nutrtion Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Susan E. Middlestadt, PhD , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Alyce D. Fly, PhD , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Numerous benefits of breastfeeding are optimized by increased exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first 6 months of the baby's life. Currently, only 10% of mothers continue EBF for 6 months, though nearly 74% of mothers initiate breastfeeding at birth. To extend the EBF duration, it is important to understand mothers' decision making processes. The purpose of this study was to describe the belief structure underlying mothers' intention to continue EBF for 6 months using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). A cross-sectional study was conducted in fall of 2008, where breastfeeding mothers who were less than 3 months postpartum were invited from Central New Jersey to complete a self-administered questionnaire that measured the direct constructs and beliefs that constitute three constructs of TPB. Demographics of women (N=184) were 44.6% White, 36.4% Black, 50.5% married, 59.8% WIC-eligible, and mean age of 29.16.4 years. Attitude (β=0.44, p<0.01), subjective norm (β=0.27, p<0.01), and perceived behavioral control (β=0.28, p<0.01) together explained 50.2% (R= 0.71, p<0.01) of the variance in mother's intention to continue EBF for 6 months. Behavioral beliefs regarding easiness and convenience of breastfeeding were significantly correlated with attitude (r=0.31, 0.20, p<0.01). Normative beliefs from husband, family, friends, and society (r=0.27, 0.30, 0.27, 0.26, p<0.01) were correlated with subjective norm. The control belief regarding pumping breast milk (r=0.25, p<0.01) was correlated with perceived behavioral control. Identification of the above specific beliefs underlying influential constructs of TPB provides guidelines for effective intervention programs.

Learning Objectives:
1. List five salient beliefs operating in mother's decision to continue breastfeeding exclusively 2. Identify influential three psychosocial constructs related to the six-month exclusive breastfeeding behavior

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceived and designed the research, collected/analyzed/interpreted the data. I have presented related research in other conferences and published manuscripts
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.