Attitudinal and demographic predictors of breast-feeding and bottle-feeding behavior by mothers of six-week-old infants.

L. T. Switzky, P. Vietze, H. N. Switzky

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46 Scopus citations


The demographic and attitudinal characteristics of 42 bottle feeding and 41 breast feeding mothers of 6 week old infants were compared. The women were patients of private physicians in Nashville, Tennessee. Data was obtained from self-administered questionnaires distributed through the physicians' offices. The women were primarily middle class whites and one-half of the women were multiparous and one-half were primiparous. On the basis of the information obtained in the questionnaires respondents were given scores on 13 demographic and family history characteristics and on 16 attitudinal scales which measured the mothers' preceptions of family life, child rearing, and breast feeding. Discriminant function analysis was used to assess the differences in the mean scores on each of the 29 variables for the 2 groups of mothers. Major findings were: 1) breast feeding mothers were significantly more educated and had significantly more breast feeding friends than bottle feeding mothers; 2) breast feeding mothers viewed their husbands as significantly more supportive of their feeding method than bottle feeding mothers; 3) bottle feeding mothers perceived more conflict in their marriages than breast feeding mothers; 4) bottle feeding mothers tended to favor accelerating the development of their infants more than the other mothers; and 5) breast feeding mothers had more positive attitudes toward breast beeding than bottle feeding mothers. Most of the women in both groups decided on their method of feeding prior to delivery, and complications during and following delivery did not alter their plans significantly. The 2 groups did not differ significantly in the degree to which they: 1) fostered dependency in their infants; 2) felt possessive toward their infants; 3) rejected the housewife role; and 4) were secluded at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1979


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