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June 2022

Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to model infant feeding behavior among Navajo mothers

Author(s): Wright, A. L.

Journal/Book: Hum Organ. 1996; 55: Business Office, Box 24083, Oklahoma City, OK 73124. Soc Applied Anthropology. 183-192.

Abstract: Anthropologists have long discussed the value and limitations of various methods of describing and understanding behavior. This article demonstrates that utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods can improve our understanding of complex behaviors. Ethnographic interviews were used to create a decision tree model of the choice of breastfeeding or formula feeding for Navajo women. This preliminary model was tested with reference to the initial feeding decisions of 250 post-partum women. Errors in the model and statistical analysis of correlates of feeding behavior were used to improve the decision model, which was subsequently tested on a new sample of 52 mothers. The final model accurately predicted the initial infant feeding behavior of 96% of women in the new sample. This combination of techniques proved useful in developing a breastfeeding promotion program which targeted specific groups for education and addressed local concerns and perceptions.

Note: Article MC Bauer, Navajo Community Coll, Div Sci & Math, Shiprock Campus, Shiprock, NM 87420 USA

Keyword(s): decision models; infant feeding; methods; Native Americans; US; KNOWLEDGE; PATTERNS; ILLNESS

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