Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 327–342 | Cite as

Breastfeeding Duration and the Theory of Planned Behavior and Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Framework: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies

  • Christine Y. K. Lau
  • Kris Y. W. Lok
  • Marie Tarrant
Review Paper


Introduction Numerous studies have shown that the constructs of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy (BSE) Framework can effectively identify relationships between maternal psychosocial factors and breastfeeding initiation. However, the ability of these theories to predict breastfeeding duration has not been adequately analyzed. The aim of the review was to examine the utility of the constructs of TRA/TPB and BSE to predict breastfeeding duration. Methods We conducted a literature search using Pubmed (1980-May 2015), Medline (1966-May 2015), CINAHL (1980-May 2015), EMBASE (1980-May 2015) and PsycINFO (1980-May 2015). We selected studies that were observational studies without randomization or blinding, using TRA, TPB or BSE as the framework for analysis. Only studies reporting on breastfeeding duration were included. Results Thirty studies were selected, which include four using TRA, 10 using TPB, 15 using BSE and one using a combination of TPB and BSE. Maternal intention and breastfeeding self-efficacy were found to be important predictors of breastfeeding duration. Inconsistent findings were found in assessing the relationship between maternal attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavior control and breastfeeding duration. Discussion The inadequacy of these constructs in explaining breastfeeding duration indicates a need to further explore the role of maternal self-determination in breastfeeding behavior.


Breastfeeding Psychosocial factors Intention Self-efficacy Self-determination theory Systematic review 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Y. K. Lau
    • 1
  • Kris Y. W. Lok
    • 1
  • Marie Tarrant
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Nursing, Li Ka Shing Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada

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