240886 Is emotion regulation related to breastfeeding outcomes?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Angela Sberna , Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Katie Kavanagh, PhD, RD , Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Breastfeeding, associated pain, and feeding difficulties have been identified as major stressful events during the postpartum period. As such, stress may be a barrier to breastfeeding initiation and duration. Previous research has linked breastfeeding with self-reports of decreased maternal stress. Therefore, mechanisms that reduce maternal stress may lead to better breastfeeding outcomes. Emotion regulation is one mechanism that has the potential to mediate stress. Emotion regulation describes a specific set of processes, involving state-regulation, through which emotions are regulated. Individuals without difficulties in emotion regulation are able to manage their emotions more effectively in stressful situations, as compared to those with low emotion regulation skills. However, the relationship between emotion regulation, perceived stress, and breastfeeding outcomes has yet to be fully explored. The current project will assess these relationships. We hypothesize that mothers with high emotion regulation skills are likely to perceive less stress and to demonstrate better breastfeeding outcomes than mothers with low emotion regulation skills. Participants will complete a prenatal questionnaire containing items from the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS, 2004) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS, 1983). Breastfeeding initiation will be assessed at birth, with duration and exclusivity assessed at one and two months postpartum. Path analysis will be used for confirmatory modeling. Results from a sample of 36 mothers, along with suggestions for future use in potential breastfeeding interventions, will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Learners will be able to define emotion regulation. 2. Learners will be able to describe the basic relationship between emotion regulation, perceived maternal stress, and breastfeeding outcomes. 3. Learners will be able to discuss the potential for targeting emotion regulation skills in breastfeeding promotion and interventions.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: this is my graduate thesis.
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.