Social support, social influence, ethnicity and the breastfeeding decision

Tom Baranowski, David E. Bee, David K. Rassin, C. Joan Richardson, Judy P. Brown, Nancy Guenther, Philip R. Nader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


A survey was conducted of all mothers delivering infants at a university medical center hospital in the month of July, 1981. The survey was conducted within 48 hours of delivery and addressed factors related to the breastfeeding decision. The mother's response to the question concerning choice of infant feeding was verified against the feeding records. One set of questions concerned the perceived general supportiveness toward breastfeeding of six individuals significant to the mother. Another set of questions identified who was most influential in the mother's breast or bottle feeding decision. The pattern of significant bivariate relationships between a person's supportiveness and breastfeeding varied across ethnic and maritial status groups. Single and multiple logistic analyses were conducted within ethnic groups to identify from whom support was most important for initiating breastfeeding. Among Black-Americans, support from a close friend was most important. Among Mexican-Americans, support from the mother's mother was most important. Among Anglo-Americans, support from the male partner was important. A broad variety of ensuing research issues are raised. An implication is that social support may be an important interventive variable, but the potentially supportive individual to be reached by an interventive program varies by ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1611
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Social support, social influence, ethnicity and the breastfeeding decision'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this