Adaptation and psychometric evaluation of the breastfeeding self-efficacy scale to assess exclusive breastfeeding

  • Godfred O. Boateng (Contributor)
  • Stephanie L. Martin (Creator)
  • Emily Tuthill (Creator)
  • Shalean M. Collins (Contributor)
  • Cindy Lee Dennis (Contributor)
  • Barnabas Natamba (Creator)
  • Sera Lewise Young (Contributor)



Abstract Background Increasing the prevalence of optimal breastfeeding practices, including exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, could prevent an estimated 823,000 child deaths annually. Self-efficacy is an important determinant of breastfeeding behaviors. However, existing measures do not specifically assess exclusive breastfeeding self-efficacy, but rather self-efficacy for any breastfeeding. Hence, we sought to adapt and validate an instrument to measure exclusive breastfeeding self-efficacy. Methods We modified and added items from Dennis’ Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale-Short Form (BSES-SF). It was then implemented in an observational cohort in Gulu, Uganda at 1 (n = 239) and 3 (n = 238) months postpartum ( NCT02925429). We performed inter-item and adjusted item-test correlations, as well as exploratory factor analysis and parallel analysis at 1 month postpartum to remove redundant items and determine their latent factor structure. We further applied confirmatory factor analysis to test dimensionality of the scale at 3 months postpartum. We then assessed the reliability of the scale and conducted tests of predictive and discriminant validity. Known group comparisons were made by primiparous status and correct breastfeeding knowledge. Results The modification of the original BSES-SF to target exclusive breastfeeding produced 19 items, which were reduced to 9 based on item correlations and factor loadings. Two dimensions of the adapted scale, the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale to Measure Exclusive Breastfeeding BSES-EBF emerged: Cognitive and Functional subscales, with alpha coefficients of 0.85 and 0.79 at 3 months postpartum. Predictive and discriminant validity and known group comparisons assessments supported its validity. Conclusions This version of the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy scale, the BSES-EBF Scale, is valid and reliable for measuring exclusive breastfeeding self-efficacy in northern Uganda, and ready for adaptation and validation for clinical and programmatic use elsewhere.
Date made available2019

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