Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Soyoung Lee

Committee Member

Yeon Bai

Committee Member

Chih-Yuan Steven Lee


The current study examined the influence of ecological variables in breastfeeding role expectations on mothers’ sense of competence in infant care, and the mediating effect of breastfeeding experience of mothers on the relationship between breastfeeding role expectations and mothering sense of competence. Thirty nine Korean American mothers who have babies under 18 months old participated in the survey asking about various ecological factors in breastfeeding role expectation, their actual breastfeeding experience, and mothering sense of competence. Findings suggested that each ecological variable (i.e. mother self, baby, family, and community) influencing Korean American mothers’ breastfeeding role expectation was differently related to mothering sense of competence, and breastfeeding experience had an important role as a mediator in the relationship between mothers’ breastfeeding role expectation and mothering sense of competence. Especially, the encouragement from family members influenced more positive experience in breastfeeding and made mothers feel higher level of sense of mothering competence. The findings also addressed some cultural aspects of breastfeeding practice in the current medical/scientific discourse and Asian cultural belief toward childrearing. Finally, the limitations of this study and future implications for research and practice were discussed.

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