Predictors of Breastfeeding Attitudes Among College-Educated African Americans

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Abstract

Breastfeeding initiation among African American women has reached 60%; however, it is the lowest rate among all races. This racial disparity is a public health concern considering the impact of breastfeeding on infant morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to explore breastfeeding exposure and determinants of breastfeeding attitudes among African Americans. The theory of planned behavior guided this study focusing on the impact of background factors on determinants of breastfeeding attitudes. This secondary analysis included 348 African American college students with a mean age of 22 years with no children. The Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale and a demographic questionnaire were used to collect data. A significant association between knowing someone who breastfed her infant and being breastfed as an infant (p < .001) was observed. Although gender, education, and breastfeeding exposure explained 15% of the variance in breastfeeding attitudes, being breastfed as an infant had no significant (p = .611) contribution. Breastfeeding exposure to someone who has breastfed her infant is a modifiable factor that influenced positive breastfeeding attitudes. Therefore, it is essential to identify strategies in practice to increase breastfeeding exposure for vulnerable populations in efforts to improve breastfeeding attitudes, intentions, and initiation.

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