Title page for ETD etd-09242004-172258


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Velpuri, Jayalakshmi
Author's Email Address jvelpuri@vt.edu
URN etd-09242004-172258
Title Breastfeeding knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace among students and professionals in health-related fields
Degree PhD
Department Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nickols-Richardson, Sharon M. Committee Chair
Barbeau, William E. Committee Member
Leiferman, Jennifer Committee Member
Stadler, Kathleen M. Committee Member
Stewart, Daisy L. Committee Member
Keywords
  • Knowledge
  • Workplace
  • Students
  • Health professionals
  • Attitudes
  • Breastfeeding
Date of Defense 2004-09-10
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Effective educational efforts require knowledgeable health professionals to promote breastfeeding and instigate changes in individual behavior. This research was conducted to assess breastfeeding knowledge, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions among students and professionals in health-related fields. A 5-year prospective study was conducted to investigate breastfeeding knowledge, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace among nutrition students (n=69) while in school and later while in the workplace. A 47-item questionnaire was mailed to participants to survey knowledge, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions related to breastfeeding in the workplace along with demographic information. From baseline to follow-up, nutrition students had a significant increase in breastfeeding knowledge (P<0.001), and change in attitudes (P<0.01) and change in intentions (P<0.02) regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. Sources of breastfeeding information were predictors of attitudes and intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. In a separate study, a cross-sectional comparison of nutrition students (n=270) and non-nutrition students (n=271) at Virginia Tech demonstrated that nutrition students had significantly higher scores on breastfeeding knowledge, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace scales (all P<0.001) compared to non-nutrition students. The 47-item questionnaire was also used in this investigation with junior, senior, and graduate students enrolled at Virginia Tech in spring of 20004. In both nutrition and non-nutrition students, attitudes and beliefs were significant predictors (both P<0.001) of intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. In a final study, a cross-sectional evaluation of the Caribbean Association of Home Economics (CAHE) (n=71) revealed that respondents had mean (±SD) scores of 5.76 + 1.34 for breastfeeding knowledge, 3.67 + 0.50 for attitudes, and 4.23 + 0.68 for beliefs related to breastfeeding in the workplace. Based on the 35-item survey, attitudes regarding breastfeeding in the workplace were positive predictors of beliefs (P<0.001). Overall, nutrition students, nutrition graduates, and CAHE members are knowledgeable about breastfeeding and possess positive attitudes and intentions regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. Attitudes regarding breastfeeding in the workplace are critical to intended behaviors. Nutrition program graduates may be effective educators of and advocates for breastfeeding and for breaking barriers to breastfeeding in the workplace.
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