Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Education and Human Services


Nutrition and Food Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Lauren Dinour

Committee Member

Yeon Bai

Committee Member

Adrian Kerrihard


INTRODUCTION: The recommended length of time to exclusively breastfeed a child is six months. However, women are not meeting these rates because they are not receiving enough support from their communities. Societal support is essential to successful breastfeeding rates. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine students’ explicit and implicit attitudes toward women breastfeeding in public, to better understand the challenges associated with breastfeeding in public and social situations. METHODS: FaceReader technology was used to analyze participants’ reactions to three images and one video clip of mothers breastfeeding in public. Questionnaires were used to record participants’ explicit (self-reported) reactions on a 5-point Likert scale and facial expression technology was used to capture their implicit (facial) reactions to the images and video. Data was analyzed using a non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test to determine the significance between each image/video clip and implicit and explicit responses. Pearson’s Correlation test was used to determine any significant relationships between variables. RESULTS: Twenty-two students (14 undergraduate, 8 graduate) participated in the study. Men had more positive attitudes toward public breastfeeding than women did (R2= 0.256; p= .016). Getting kicked out of a restaurant because of breastfeeding had significantly higher negative emotions than breastfeeding in a public park. Overall, participants generally had positive attitudes towards breastfeeding but were most comfortable when the woman in the image had showed the least breast exposure. CONCLUSION: Additional knowledge and positive exposure to public breastfeeding is needed to improve students’ attitudes toward women breastfeeding in public.

File Format


Included in

Food Studies Commons