A Functional Assessment of the Impact of Advantages and Disadvantages on Breastfeeding Attitude

F. Van Acker*, E. Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Although health and other benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child have been repeatedly shown, there is still a large proportion of women who do not initiate or continue breastfeeding. The aim of the current study is to analyze the contribution of the presentation of advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding in developing an attitude towards breastfeeding among Dutch and Flemish women of reproductive age. In a functional measurement experiment factorial combinations of advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding were presented to a group of women between 18 and 45 years. Women rated their attitude towards breastfeeding after each presentation of a combination of arguments. The results show that information on health related advantages produces the most positive attitude towards breastfeeding. Practical disadvantages were found to be the least important determinants of attitude. Three types of response patterns could be distinguished using cluster analysis. Although an averaging type integration rule was expected, the results suggest that some women do not take all information from the presented advantages and disadvantages into account to form an overall attitude towards breastfeeding. One cluster showed no main effect for advantages, only a small effect for disadvantages, but a main effect of attitude prior to the experiment. The second cluster showed a large main effect for advantages and only a modest effect for disadvantages. In the third cluster, both advantages and disadvantages impacted similarly on attitude. An averaging type integration rule could be discerned in the second and the third cluster. The current results imply that campaigns to promote breastfeeding should take into account differences between target populations. (Contains 1 figure and 3 tables.)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)533-545
    Number of pages13
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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