Intent to Breast-Feed: The Impact of Attitudes, Norms, Parity, and Experience

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Objective: To examine the influence of breast-feeding attitudes, social norms, and prior experience on predicting breast-feeding intention utilizing the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior. Methods: Low-income pregnant women (n=963) completed a theory-based questionnaire. Results: Attitudes were more predictive of breast-feeding intention than were norms, regardless of parity or prior behavior. Among multiparous women, amount of prior breast-feeding experience contributed independently to predicting breast-feeding intention and rendered norms insignificant. Conclusion: Results support the theories. Breast-feeding promotions targeting low-income women should emphasize enhancing women's personal breast-feeding attitudes, and, among primiparous women, promoting positive breast-feeding attitudes among their significant others.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition Services, Grady Health System, Atlanta, GA. 2: Division of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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