Doctor of Nutrition and Food Sciences (PNFS)


School of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Document Type



Background: Breastfeeding nourishes the nutritional and immunological needs of infants necessary for body growth, development, and defense mechanisms. The literature lacks theory-based validated tools developed through a structured process to measure breastfeeding concepts influencing future breastfeeding intentions among the childless female population.

Research Aim: This study intended to develop tools to measure important breastfeeding constructs influencing breastfeeding intentions using systematic survey development and validation methodology.

Methods: A pool of items was created based on the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior. A panel of six scale content experts was assembled. The items went through two rounds of expert panel evaluation until a consensus was reached. The scales were pilot-tested and validated among a sample of adult childless females of reproductive age residing in Louisiana. Further, Structural Equation Modeling was used to find a model fit.

Results: A five-factor model was revealed based on results of Exploratory Factor Analysis which was later confirmed with Structure Equation Modeling. The factors are perceived behavioral control, breastfeeding support, negative attitudes, positive attitudes, breastfeeding norms, and intentions. The constructs measured among the overall childless female population were satisfactory.

Conclusion: The model was considered to have an acceptable fit. Besides the higher-than-acceptable values of internal reliability and content validity of the factors in the model, it also reported the quality of factors within the model. The breastfeeding parameters studied among the childless female population were overall satisfactory though had differences when studied under each demographic. These differences need to be addressed to bring a change that improves breastfeeding practices. This change is possible through different target-based interventions according to their age, socioeconomic status, race, and education.



Committee Chair

Erin McKinley

Available for download on Thursday, April 01, 2027