Date of Award:

1-1-1977

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Jay D. Schvaneveldt

Abstract

This study focused mainly upon regional and religious variables influencing a mother's decision for a particular infant feeding practice. The problem of this study was to investigate the breast feeding and maternal attitudes of Mormon and non-Mormon mothers who were raised within the Mountain States region and compare them to the attitudes of Mormon and non-Mormon women who are not residents of this region.

No significant differences were found between the resident and non- resident women in their practice of bottle or breast feeding, nor was any significant difference found between the number of Mormon and non-Mormon women who breast fed their children. What was discovered however, was an amazingly large percentage of women that had selected to breast feed their babies.

Mothers who breast fed were more inclined to mention a closeness between mother and baby as their main reason for the method that they selected . They also believed that it was more convenient, economical , and better for the baby.

Physical problems that make breast feeding difficult, if not impossible, were most often mentioned by mothers who selected to bottle feed their children. Bottle feeding was also listed as more convenient and allowed more mobility.

Scores obtained from the Infant Feeding Scale, which was developed to measure a mother 1s religious and traditional attitudes in regards to infant feeding, indicated that the Mormon group scored significantly higher on both the religious and traditional parts. The nonresidents in general also scored higher indicating a more conservative traditional response by this group, but it was the Mormon-non-resident group that presented the greater contribution to the over all significance that was found on this scale.

Other social and personal variables such as social class, age, family size and educational status were also considered in this study , but no significant difference was found, perhaps because the population in this study was an accumulation of mothers who possessed those variables that tend to positively influence breast feeding.

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