Predicting breastfeeding in women living in areas of economic hardship: Explanatory role of the theory of planned behaviour

Brian Mcmillan, Mark Conner, Mike Woolridge, Lisa Dyson, Josephine Green, Mary Renfrew, Kuldip Bharj, Graham Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study employed the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and additional variables (descriptive norm, moral norm, self-identity) to investigate the factors underlying breastfeeding intention and subsequent breastfeeding at four time points (during hospital stay, at hospital discharge, 10 days postpartum and 6 weeks postpartum) in a sample of women selected from defined areas of economic hardship (N = 248). A model containing the TPB, additional variables and demographic factors provided a good prediction of both intention (R (2) = 0.72; attitude, perceived behavioural control, moral norm and self-identity significant predictors) and behaviour - breastfeeding at birth (88.6% correctly classified; household deprivation, intention, attitude significant), at discharge from hospital (87.3% correctly classified; intention, attitude significant), 10 days after discharge (83.1% correctly classified; education, intention, attitude, descriptive norm significant) and 6 weeks after discharge (78.0% correctly classified; age, household deprivation, ethnicity, moral norm significant). Implications for interventions are discussed, such as the potential usefulness of targeting descriptive norms, moral norms and perceived behavioural control (PBC) when attempting to increase breastfeeding uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-88
Number of pages22
JournalPsychology & health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Poverty Areas
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychological Theory
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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