263928 SIDS Prevention: When Lack of Knowledge Isn't the Problem

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yesenia Merino, MPH , Department of Behavioral Science & Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Laura M. Gaydos, PhD , Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Sarah Blake, MA, PhD(candidate) , Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Safiya Dalmida, PhD, APRN-BC , Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Julie Gazmararian, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Winifred W. Thompson, PhD, MSW , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University Winship Cancer Institute at Grady Health System, Atlanta, GA
Many new mothers lack sufficient information or resources to appropriately care for their infants. As a result, they may inadvertently place their children at risk for negative health outcomes, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Looking to identify parenting information needs, we conducted exploratory, qualitative research across the state of Georgia with first-time mothers of low-to-moderate income. We completed 10 focus groups with 92 new mothers and 20 interviews with clinical providers who care for them.

Nearly all mothers interviewed indicated they had been informed that infants should be placed on their backs to sleep and should not co-sleep with a parent in a bed. However, few study participants followed these recommendations. African-American women and Latinas in particular saw co-sleeping as a culturally ingrained practice superseding medical recommendations. For sleep safety in particular, it is not a lack of knowledge that determines behavioral decisions of new mothers, but rather other influencing factors.

Provider responses echoed focus group findings, indicating that they counsel patients regarding “back to sleep,” but less on the issue of co-sleeping, in part because of the difficulty of changing behavior with such a strong cultural influence. Several providers also noted that low-income mothers face additional barriers to compliance with sleep recommendations.

These findings raise important questions about how to address sleep safety while maintaining a culturally appropriate perspective. These findings will inform the development of new parenting programs and materials in the state and should thus focus on bridging the gap between knowledge and behavior.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe current sleeping practices among new mothers in Georgia. 2. Compare medical recommendations and cultural norms of first-time mothers and their infants. 3. Consider and compare alternatives for influencing behavior change concerning SIDS prevention.

Keywords: Infant Health, SIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a current graduate student working on the study to be presented and was intimately involved in the collection and analysis of data for this study. I have several years of research experience, with particular expertise in sexual and 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.