Male Attitudes and Knowledge About Breastfeeding
The role of males in the infant feeding controversy has been greatly understudied over the years. Their attitudes and basic knowledge on this subject go unnoticed as study after study focuses only on the mother’s behavior, attitudes, and feelings about which infant feeding practice is best. To compensate for the lack of information about the male perspective, this study focused on male attitudes and knowledge levels about breastfeeding and formula feeding methods. Two hundred and fifty-nine students completed an online survey for their undergraduate psychology 101 class, receiving one credit for their participation. The first hypotheses proposed that females would score higher on breastfeeding knowledge scores than males would, which was supported by our data. The mean knowledge score for females was higher than the male score, t(255)= -2.17, p=.03. The second hypothesis was also supported in this study showing that men with children have more positive attitudes about breastfeeding than men without children. This was measured on two variable scales. The first showed that males agreed that breastfeeding was seen as natural, t(36)=3.62, p=.001, and the second showed a preference for breastfeeding over formula feeding; t(102)=2.35, p=.02. The last hypothesis hoped to find that men in higher socioeconomic groups would score higher on our knowledge test than men in lower socioeconomic groups. This hypothesis was not supported by our data. The results from this study allow a more conclusive look at the overall perspectives about breastfeeding my including the powerful male viewpoint. Their influence on the decisions to breastfeed as well as their influence on breastfeeding as a socially acceptable behavior may be more impactful than previously perceived.
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