Women’s experience of social media breastfeeding support and its impact on extended breastfeeding success: A social cognitive perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective
This paper investigates the experiences of women using a social media Facebook group for breastfeeding support and attempts to explore whether it has aided in extended breastfeeding success. In addition, it aims to explore the value of social cognitive theory (SCT) in explaining these experiences.

Design
Exploratory, deductive approach.

Methods
Qualitative, audio-recorded, semi-structured interviews were conducted from eight women who were members of a private Facebook group’. Data were analysed using theoretical thematic analysis, and SCT was used as a theoretical lens through which the data were interrogated.

Results
A number of themes were identified from the women’s experiences, with analysis uncovering the superordinate theme ‘increased self-efficacy’ which provided an understanding of how the group impacted women’s experiences and aided them in breastfeeding success. The sub-themes of education, accessibility, online community, normalization, and extended goals provided a more detailed understanding of how self- efficacy was increased through group membership.

Conclusion
The symbiotic relationship between members of a social media group facilitates greater breastfeeding success and a longer duration of breastfeeding through the central concept of the SCT: reciprocal determinism. Therefore, it is posited that the SCT is a suitable theory of behaviour change which can potentially be used to develop interventions aiming to increase breastfeeding rates and duration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12451
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Early online date5 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • breastfeeding
  • online
  • peer support
  • self-efficacy
  • social cognitive theory
  • social media
  • social support

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