Elizabeth Johnson-Young, assistant professor of communication, was recently awarded the prize for the Top Student Paper in the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association. The paper, “Predicting Intentions to Breastfeed for Three Months, Six Months, and One Year Using the Theory of Planned Behavior and Body Satisfaction,” was written and submitted while completing her doctoral studies in the spring of 2015 and was presented at the organization’s national conference in Las Vegas in November.
Johnson-Young’s research surveyed pregnant women regarding their intentions to breastfeed their babies for three recommended periods of time. Findings demonstrated the strength of the theory of planned behavior constructs in predicting these intentions, as well as a possible boomerang effect of perceived subjective norms, which might also be conceptualized as perceived social pressure. Including body satisfaction prior to and during pregnancy also appeared to be a significant moderator of these intentions, providing a new way to understand both theoretical influences and practical considerations for this specific population in making health decisions.