Latching on to Information: Effects of Information-Seeking Behavior on Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy
Duchsherer, Amy Elaine
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Latching on to Information: Effects of Information-Seeking Behavior on Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy (1004.Kb)
Recommendations on breastfeeding in the United States suggest that infants should be exclusively breastfed for six months with continued breastfeeding in conjunction with complementary foods for at least one year. However, only 22.30% of women are exclusively breastfeeding when their infant reaches the age of six months, which indicates the existence of barriers hindering prolonged breastfeeding. In this study, I consider the factors related to information-seeking behavior that may influence breastfeeding rates. Specifically, I focus on the relationship between the sources a woman selects to receive information about breastfeeding and her level of breastfeeding self-efficacy, which has been shown to be a significant predictor of breastfeeding success. A sample of 222 breastfeeding women was recruited for participation in this study. Participants completed a mixed-methods survey, and the results of the survey were analyzed using applied thematic analysis, correlation, and regression analysis. Women who participated in this study used non-expert online information sources most frequently when searching for information related to breastfeeding. Criteria women used most frequently when choosing an information source included source affordances (e.g., convenience and quickness), information characteristics (e.g., variety of information and information quality), and source characteristics (e.g., source expertise). Hypotheses for this study posited a relationship between source characteristics (i.e., expertise, trustworthiness, goodwill, and social support) and breastfeeding self-efficacy; all hypotheses were supported, and expertise, trustworthiness, goodwill, and social support were found to have a significant positive relationship with breastfeeding self-efficacy. Source expertise was found to be the strongest predictor of breastfeeding self-efficacy among those that were measured for this study; however, it is not an individual significant predictor when modeled alongside the remaining source characteristics. Implications of this study stress the importance of access to quality information related to breastfeeding and continued research on the development of breastfeeding self-efficacy in various demographic populations and over the span of a breastfeeding relationship.