Relationship among Breastfeeding Exposure, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Collegiate Males Residing in East Texas

Leslie Heathman, Crystal Clark Douglas, Simone P. Camel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Researchers exploring breastfeeding attitudes and knowledge among women suggest the decision to breastfeed is influenced by the male partner, yet few studies address males. Because collegiate males will soon enter fatherhood, assessment of their attitudes and knowledge may inform interventions aimed at increasing intention to breastfeed. Research aim: This study aimed to describe collegiate males’ exposure to, attitude toward, and knowledge about breastfeeding. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was used with males ≥ 18 years of age enrolled at a Texas public university. Attitude indices measured included social limitations, public displays of breastfeeding, and employer accommodations. Descriptive statistics, correlational and regression analyses were employed. Results: The participants’ (N = 949) average age was 25.48 years; > 80% reported not being fathers. Exposure to breastfeeding was high; > 80% witnessed breastfeeding and/or had someone close breastfeed. High attitude scores indicated social acceptability of breastfeeding. Knowledge appeared limited: only 16% identified the recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life; > 50% overlooked the reduced risk for overweight/obesity, ear infections, diarrhea, or food allergies. Correlations between knowledge, exposure, total attitude, and index scores were positive (p <.01) except for the public displays index. Stepwise multiple regression determined that breastfeeding exposure, knowledge scores, and father’s educational level predicted total attitude score, (R2 = 0.13, F (3,851) = 44.02, p <.01). Conclusion: The positive attitudes outcome among this male population is promising for breastfeeding support and advocacy. Education efforts improving knowledge will likely increase behavioral intention, resulting in increased breastfeeding rates and duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-789
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Breastfeeding barriers
  • breastfeeding knowledge
  • breastfeeding promotion
  • breastfeeding support
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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