The Glasgow Infant Feeding Action Research Project: An evaluation of a community based intervention designed to increase the prevalence of breastfeeding in socially disadvantaged urban area

McInnes, Rhona J. (1998) The Glasgow Infant Feeding Action Research Project: An evaluation of a community based intervention designed to increase the prevalence of breastfeeding in socially disadvantaged urban area. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In many parts of Scotland, breastfeeding is relatively uncommon and attempts to increase its prevalence appear to have had little success. Despite the clear evidence of the risks associated with bottle-feeding it has proved difficult to persuade mothers to change their behaviour in favour of breastfeeding. There are a number of factors associated with intention to breastfeed and with initiating and continuing breastfeeding. Among these factors are certain socio-demographic characteristics, maternal characteristics and the influences of health professionals and the social and peer group. Breastfeeding is inversely related to poverty, and children from poorer communities are disproportionately higher users of medical services. The proven health benefits of breastfeeding suggest that increasing breastfeeding is one of the most effective measures for improving health in disadvantaged communities. The aim of this study was to plan, implement and evaluate an innovative community-based intervention designed to increase the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding in a socioeconomically disadvantaged community. It was postulated that, since breastfeeding was influenced by the peer group and by positive role models, a community based system of peer support would be likely to have an impact on breastfeeding behaviour. Although the impact of this study on breastfeeding prevalence was relatively limited it did show a consistently positive trend in favour of breastfeeding in the intervention area, especially when socio-economic differences between the groups were taken into consideration. However, no differences in overall breastfeeding prevalence rates were demonstrated at six weeks whichever method of data analysis was employed. Women who stated an antenatal intention to breastfeed were assisted to achieve this and a few mothers who had not intended to breastfeed did so successfully. The intervention appeared to be acceptable to health professionals and mothers. It is possible that an intervention lasting longer than two years might have a greater impact on breastfeeding prevalence. Conclusion Despite the lack of impact of the intervention at six weeks, a positive trend in breastfeeding in the intervention group study suggests that peer support is a promising strategy for the promotion of breastfeeding in disadvantaged areas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Stone, Dr. David
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Mrs Monika Milewska-Fiertek
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-30936
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2018 15:20
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2018 15:20
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30936
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