Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Nutritional Sciences

Major Professor

Katherine F. Kavanagh

Committee Members

Jay Whelan, Marsha L. Spence, Melissa B. Hansen-Petrik, Hillary N. Fouts


Background: Breastfeeding is a health behavior encouraged by Healthy People 2020. However, an important barrier to breastfeeding is limited access to specialized support if needed. The use of videoconferencing technology to increase access to the relatively small number of professionals trained to manage breastfeeding issues may ultimately assist with increasing breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates. Understanding the perceived acceptability of videoconferencing technology among potential users is a critical first step in developing effective interventions.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were 1) to assess the relationship between acceptance of remote lactation consultation using videoconferencing and a) acceptance subscales, b) maternal learning style preferences and c) maternal demographic factors and, 2) to explore the relationship between infant fathers’/maternal partners’ demographic factors and their perception of their wives’/partners’ acceptance remote lactation consultation using videoconferencing.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study design using online survey methodology. Participants included 101 mothers and 80 unrelated infant fathers/maternal partners. Samples were recruited between July 2014 and March 2015, from specific and discrete randomized states. Mothers were English-speaking, ≥ 18 years of age, with an infant of ≤ 4 months of age who had been breast-fed at least once.

Results: Mothers’ survey - Factors related to maternal acceptance included ‘perceived ease of use’ (r=0.680, p<0.001), ‘perceived usefulness/extrinsic motivation’ (r=0.774, p<0.001), and ‘intrinsic motivation’ (r=0.689, p<0.001). Learning style preferences and demographics were not significantly related to maternal acceptance. Only ‘perceived usefulness/extrinsic motivation’ and maternal age predicted acceptance in the regression model (R2 [square]=0.616, p<0.001). Infant fathers’/maternal partners’ survey - Factors related to infant fathers’/maternal partners’ perception of their wives’/partners’ acceptance included ‘perceived ease of use’ (r=0.653, p<0.001), ‘perceived usefulness/extrinsic motivation’ (r=0.797, p<0.001), and ‘intrinsic motivation’ (r=0.756, p<0.001). None of the infant fathers’/maternal partners’ demographic factors were significantly different based on their perception of the acceptance of their wives/partners. Only ‘perceived usefulness/extrinsic motivation’ remained predictive in the regression (R2=0.635, p<0.001).

Conclusions: In these samples, mothers’ acceptance was slightly positive and infant fathers/maternal partners perceived their wives’/partners’ acceptance to be neutral. In both samples, those perceiving videoconferencing to be useful for lactation consultation showed greater acceptance of its use.

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