Psychological predictors of breastfeeding duration

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Wilson, Sarah
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Breastfeeding is beneficial to the health of mothers and infants. Despite this, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation (57%) and continuation (34%) worldwide. The present study explored psychological factors - Conscientiousness, Percieved Social Support and Feeding Beliefs, as predictors of breastfeeding duration. A correlational design was followed. Participants (N=289) were mothers recruited through parenting website Each participant completed an online questionnaire comprising the Big Five Inventory -Conscientiousness Scale, the Multi-Dimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Behavioural Beliefs Questionnaire and a demographic questionnaire. Results suggest that the combined factors of Conscientiousness, Percieved Social Support and Feeding Beliefs predict breastfeeding duration. Furthermore a relationship was found between feeding method chosen for first born and subsequent children. Author keywords: Breastfeeding, infant feeding, bottle-feeding, nutrition, conscientiousness, percieved social support, feeding beliefs, behavioural beliefs,