Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 27–32 | Cite as

Breast or bottle? A statistical model for studying maternal intent

  • A. W. Kelly
  • N. M. Joyce


THE aim of this study has been to develop a multivariate model relating certain socio-maternal factors to choice of feeding method in a maternity hospital in Dublin. Analysis is based on a sample of 9,000 liveborn singletons. Essentially, we found that, as regards the probability of a mother choosing to breast feed, a declared intention to do so is of primary importance. This in reinforced if the mother is married, is delivering a second or subsequent child, comes from a higher social class category, is older rather than younger and has been working. For these particular data the model performance is satisfactory (Chi-square=56, d.f. = 66; p = 0.8). Appreciating the need to present results in a clear and useful manner, we employ a graphic technique i.e. a decision tree, to represent the output of the regression equation, so greatly simplifying interpretation. Model sensitivity and specificity are described and finally various limitations are discussed.


Breast Feeding Infant Feeding Infant Feeding Practice Rotunda Hospital High Social Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. W. Kelly
    • 1
  • N. M. Joyce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Statistics, Trinity CollegeDublin and Rotunda HospitalDublin

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