The influence of psychological factors on breastfeeding duration

O'Brien, Maxine, Buikstra, Elizabeth and Hegney, Desley (2008) The influence of psychological factors on breastfeeding duration. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63 4: 397-408. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04722.x

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Author O'Brien, Maxine
Buikstra, Elizabeth
Hegney, Desley
Title The influence of psychological factors on breastfeeding duration
Journal name Journal of Advanced Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0309-2402
Publication date 2008-08
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04722.x
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 63
Issue 4
Start page 397
End page 408
Total pages 12
Editor Roger Watson
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject 111006 Midwifery
920507 Women's Health
111714 Mental Health
Formatted abstract
Aim. This paper reports on a study examining the relationship between women's psychological characteristics and breastfeeding duration, after controlling for socio-demographic factors.

Background. The literature suggests that psychological factors may influence breastfeeding behaviour, but studies are few. Existing evidence and the results of phase 1 of our study were used to construct a list of psychological factors, which were tested for their association with breastfeeding duration in the current design.

Method. Participants were postnatal inpatients in one of two regional hospitals between October and December 2005 and they completed the initial questionnaire within 14 days of giving birth (n = 375). Infant feeding method at 6 months and the timing of introduction of other food(s), where relevant, were ascertained by telephone interview.

Findings. Forty-four per cent of the sample showed signs of postnatal distress in the 14 days following the birth. Breastfeeding duration was statistically significantly associated with psychological factors including dispositional optimism, breastfeeding self-efficacy, faith in breastmilk, breastfeeding expectations, anxiety, planned duration of breastfeeding and the time of the infant feeding decision. As a set, these psychological factors were more predictive of breastfeeding duration than was the set of socio-demographic characteristics. The duration of any breastfeeding was uniquely predicted by faith in breastmilk, planned breastfeeding duration and breastfeeding self-efficacy.

Conclusion. This increased knowledge of the factors influencing breastfeeding will assist in identifying women at risk of early weaning and in constructing programmes capable of increasing the length of time for which women breastfeed.
Keyword breastfeeding duration
empirical research report
psychological factors
breast milk
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Additional Notes This is an author version of an article originally published as Maxine O'Brien, Elizabeth Buikstra and Desley Hegney (2008) The influence of psychological factors on breastfeeding duration, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63 (4) : 397 - 408. 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04722.x Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
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