Factors Associated with the Initiation of Breastfeeding in Asthmatic Families: The Attitude–Social Influence–Self-Efficacy Model

Barbara Gijsbers, Ilse Mesters, J. Andre Knottnerus, Constant P. Van Schayck
Breastfeeding Medicine. 2006, 1(4): 236-246.


Background: Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months postpartum is promoted internationally as the preferred method of feeding infants. Infants of parents with a history of asthma in particular could benefit from a longer period (6 months) of breastfeeding, because this may reduce the chance of developing an allergic disease. The aim of this study was to identify psychosocial behavioral determinants of the intended duration and actual initiation of breastfeeding in families with a predisposition to asthma.

Methods: This prospective study was part of a randomized trial in which breastfeeding for 6 months was promoted. The 89 women participating completed a breastfeeding questionnaire based on the Attitude–Social Influence–Self-Efficacy model in the second trimester of their pregnancy. This served as the baseline measurement.

Results: Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses showed that attitudinal beliefs were significantly associated with the intended duration to breastfeed (p = 0.01) and the intention was the strongest predictor for the actual initiation of breastfeeding (OR: 8.2; 95% CI: 1.5 to 44.3).

Conclusion: Breastfeeding promotion needs to focus on the health advantages and other advantages of breastfeeding for 6 months, especially in high-risk groups, in order to increase the intention to breastfeed, which appeared to be a strong predictor for actual behavior.