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The Infant Feeding Intentions scale demonstrates construct validity and comparability in quantifying maternal breastfeeding intentions across multiple ethnic groups

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Research tools that are comparable across ethnic groups are needed in order to understand sociodemographic disparities in breastfeeding rates. The Infant Feeding Intentions (IFI) scale provides a quantitative measure of maternal breastfeeding intentions. IFI score ranges from 0 (no intention to breastfeed) to 16 (very strong intentions to fully breastfeed for 6 months). The objective of this study was to examine intra- and inter-ethnic validity of the IFI scale. The IFI scale was administered to 218 white non-Hispanic, 75 African-American, 80 English-speaking Hispanic, 62 Spanish-speaking Hispanic and 64 Asian expectant primiparae. Participants were asked their planned duration of providing breast milk as the sole source of milk (full breastfeeding). The IFI scale was examined for intra-ethnic internal consistency and construct validity and for inter-ethnic comparability. For all five ethnic categories, principal component analysis separated the scale into the same two factors: intention to initiate breastfeeding and intention to continue full breastfeeding. Across ethnic categories, the range in Cronbach's alpha was 0.70–0.85 for the initiation factor and 0.90–0.93 for the continuation factor. Within each ethnic category, IFI score increased as planned duration of full breastfeeding increased (P < 0.0001 for all). Within the planned duration categories of <1, 1–3, 3–6 and ≥6 months, the median IFI score by ethnic category ranged from (low–high) 5–8, 9–10, 12–14 and 16–16, respectively. The IFI scale provides a valid measure of breastfeeding intentions in diverse populations of English- and Spanish-speaking primiparae, and may be a useful tool when researching disparities in breastfeeding practices.
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Keywords: African-American; Hispanic; assessment tools; breastfeeding practices; health disparities; lactation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis, retired, 2: Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis Medical Center, 2516 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, California 95817, USA, and 3: Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2010

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