241351 A theory-driven study of college students' perspectives on infant feeding

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Erica Hesch Anstey, MA, CLC , Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Aimee Eden, MA , Dept. of Anthropology/College of Public Health-Community & Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Jordana Frost, MPH, CPH, CLC , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Publci Health, Boston, MA
Rasheeta Chandler, PhD, MS, ARNP, FNP-BC , College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Background: Despite efforts to increase breastfeeding, U.S. rates remain far from ideal. Intention and attitude toward breastfeeding have been shown to predict infant feeding method, demonstrating the need to understand early influences regarding infant feeding choices. Many college students begin childbearing in the decade following graduation, yet little research has explored their infant feeding perspectives. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), this study aimed to explore male and female college students' attitudes, beliefs, and future intentions about infant feeding. Methods: In Phase I of a 3-phased study, an open-ended qualitative elicitation survey (18 questions plus demographics) was administered online to students to explore attitudes, subjective norms, and behavioral beliefs about infant feeding practices. Themes were identified (using NVivo) to guide development of a Web-based questionnaire (for Phases II and III). Results: The participants (n=29) ranged in age from 18-42, were primarily female (n=21), white (n=25), heterosexual (n=26) and from a variety of academic disciplines. Phase I findings for each TPB construct are presented. Emergent themes related to the attitudes construct included: bonding, convenience, cost, infant health, ingredients, maternal health, pain, privacy, public opinion, and sexual connotations. Normative beliefs were found to be most influenced by family members, partners, friends, healthcare providers, and the general public. Behavioral control beliefs (enablers/barriers) included: work, time, milk supply, cost, ability/inability to breastfeed, and knowledge. Almost half (~48%, n=14) plan to breastfeed future children, ~38% (n=11) plan to combine formula and breastfeeding, ~10% (n=3) plan to formula feed, and 3% (n=1) don't know. Conclusions: Phase I results are being used to develop a theory-driven quantitative survey instrument that will be distributed online to the entire student population. Findings will add to the existing literature and could be used to identify leverage points to improve breastfeeding attitudes and beliefs among college students prior to conceiving.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the use of the Theory of Planned Behavior to describe college studentsí infant feeding perspectives beginning with the results of a qualitative elicitation survey. 2. Discuss college studentsí attitudes, beliefs, and future intentions about infant feeding.

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on the study and have been involved in all aspects of the research process. I am also a doctoral student of public health with various research experience related to maternal and child health and women's reproductive health.
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.