Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Heidi Stolz

Committee Members

Hillary Fouts, Amy Rauer


Despite recent increases in breastfeeding initiation in the U.S., exclusive breastfeeding rates at six months remain below Healthy People 2020 goals, especially for mothers who are young, less educated, low-income, or racial minorities. Demographic factors and some aspects of parenting identity, such as parenting self-efficacy and maternal role satisfaction, have been studied in relation to breastfeeding; however, little research has explored the parenting identity construct of maternal role salience or aspects of the couple-relationship in successful breastfeeding, especially in low-income populations. Framed in role theory, this study examined data from low-income women (N = 70) to investigate whether various demographic factors, parenting identity factors (parenting self-efficacy, maternal role satisfaction, and maternal role salience) or couple-related factors (relationship quality, couple conflict, and co-parenting alliance) predicted sustained breastfeeding. Results indicated that neither parenting identity nor relationship variables were significant in predicting sustained breastfeeding in this population. However, younger mothers and White mothers were more likely to sustain breastfeeding, perhaps due to social or cultural infant feeding norms.

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