• Understanding and Promoting Breastfeeding among African American Woman of the Rural South

      Stewart, Jessica Lynn; Department of Clinical and Digital Health Sciences (2016-03)
      African American women (AAW) have lower rates of breastfeeding (BF) than whites and other U.S. minority groups. Along with its many maternal and child health benefits, research indicates BF can reduce the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with higher mortalities and incidence in AAW. Thus, increasing BF can be an important strategy for addressing breast cancer health disparities.This research seeks to ultimately determine whether increased awareness that BF reduces breast cancer and TNBC risk will positively alter AAW’s BF decision-making. A survey and an in-depth interview based on the Theory of Planned Behavior framework are used to examine AAW’s perceptions of breast cancer risk and prevention as well as their beliefs, attitudes and motivations that underlie BF decision-making. Preliminary analysis of 10 interviews to date showed that all of the participants had an intention and desire to BF, but many (n=6) lacked a realistic plan to manage BF and address expected barriers. When asked about breast cancer, most (n=8) demonstrated fear and avoidance of the topic. There was a general lack of knowledge, but excitement about the benefits of BF on TNBC prevention. Dissemination of this new evidence may be useful in guiding BF promotions among AAW. Also, there was a clear disconnect in BF intention versus action in this population. Further analysis will identify intervening factors that bridge the gap.