Online Program

Positive deviance: An innovative approach to researching breastfeeding disparities in African-American women in the United States

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:48 a.m. - 11:06 a.m.

Tyra Gross, MPH, Health Promotion & Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Despite the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, rates are lowest in the African-American community. Very few studies have been conducted examining characteristics of women, especially African American women, who have breastfed despite having risk factors associated with not breastfeeding. One useful approach to fill this gap is Positive Deviance, an inexpensive method to identify uncommon health behaviors that improve health in resource poor communities. Positive deviance was developed in the 1970's by nutrition experts and has been used primarily in international settings to address health issues, such as condom use, family planning, pregnancy outcomes, and child health. To date only one published study has examined breastfeeding using positive deviance in the United States, which used quantitative data. This presentation describes methodology for conducting positive deviance inquiry and how this methodology is being used in a qualitative research study on breastfeeding in African-American women in northern Georgia. The goals of the study are to understand African-American women's breastfeeding experiences and to explore the factors influencing their decision to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. Lessons learned from the study will be shared along with preliminary findings and suggestions for future research.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss breastfeeding disparities in African-American women Describe positive deviance and its methodology Name 2 international examples of positive deviance research Explain how positive deviance inquiry is useful in research breastfeeding in African-American women

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Methodology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am conducting this research as part of my doctoral dissertation, which focuses on breastfeeding. I have given presentations on this research previously, and have extensive knowledge on the topic. I have been trained in maternal and child health/breastfeeding, and have expertise in the topic of racial/ethnic disparities, particularly as they relate to breastfeeding. I have been studying these areas of infant feeding and disparities as part of my doctoral training.
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.