Introduction: Childbirth is a stressful factor that can trigger disorders such as depression in women. The various problems characteristic to the puerperal period make mothers more prone than ever to stress, anxiety and depression. The aim of this study was to determine relationship between psychological factors and social support and breastfeeding process in mothers presenting to healthcare centers in Shahrood, Iran. 

Methods: The present cross-sectional study was conducted on 465 mothers with infants aged one to six months, presenting to Shahrood healthcare centers in 2015-16. Data were obtained using a researcher-designed demographic and breastfeeding questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Data were analyzed in SPSS-18 using measures of central tendency, the Chi-square test, the t-test, Mann-Whitney’s test and Fisher's exact test and Logistic Regression Model. The level of statistical significance was set at p<0.05.

Results: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 68.4% in the study population. The results revealed a significant relationship between state and trait anxiety and exclusive breastfeeding (p=0.004 and p=0.006, respectively). According to the results of the logistic regression, each unit of increase in the mother’s mean state of anxiety protects the chances of non-exclusive breastfeeding up to about 54% (OR=0.462).

Conclusion: The findings suggest that maternal anxiety can reduce the chances of exclusive breastfeeding. It is therefore recommended to actively monitor and manage maternal anxiety in the postpartum period so as to support exclusive breastfeeding.


Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Social support
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