Social and Psychological Determinants of Breast-Feeding and Bottle-Feeding Mothers

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Our study examined the psychological and sociological factors of mothers who breast-feed and mothers who bottle-feed. Most of the data came from 124 Israeli mothers who had just given birth, but selective data were also collected on three additional samples-108, 465, and 135 new mothers. The psychological measures included the Bar-Ilan Sex Role Inventory (Tzuriel, 1984) and body image as measured by the drawing of a dressed and a naked woman. None of the psychological factors distinguished between the two groups of women. Social factors, however, did distinguish between the two groups: Mothers who breast-fed were of Asian-African background; were less educated; held blue collar jobs or did not work; perceived their husbands, relatives, and friends assupporting their decision to breast-feed; and tended to be more religious. The discriminant function analysis-which predicted 73 of the cases-showed that the mother's education, her religiousness, and her perceived support of friends and relatives were the most important factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1986

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from Bar-Ilan University, Internal Fund for Research.


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