A Critical Review of Instruments Measuring Breastfeeding Attitudes, Knowledge, and Social Support

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Abstract

Background:

Breastfeeding provides beneficial health outcomes for infants and their mothers, and increasing its practice is a national priority in many countries. Despite increasing support to exclusively breastfeed, the prevalence at 6 months remains low. Breastfeeding behavior is influenced by a myriad of determinants, including breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge, and social support. Effective measurement of these determinants is critical to provide optimal support for women throughout the breastfeeding period. However, there are a multitude of available instruments measuring these constructs, which makes identification of an appropriate instrument challenging.

Research aim:

Our aim was to identify and critically examine the existing instruments measuring breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge, and social support.

Methods:

A total of 16 instruments was identified. Each instrument’s purpose, theoretical underpinnings, and validity were analyzed.

Results:

An overview, validation and adaptation for use in other settings was assessed for each instrument. Depth of reporting and validation testing differed greatly between instruments.

Conclusion:

Content, construct, and predictive validity were present for most but not all scales. When selecting and adapting instruments, attention should be paid to domains within the scale, number of items, and adaptation.

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