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Exploring dimensions of health literacy: a case study of interventions to promote and support breastfeeding

Authors: Gillis, Doris E.;

Exploring dimensions of health literacy: a case study of interventions to promote and support breastfeeding

Abstract

At a time when health literacy is emerging as a central concern in the health field, this thesis examines whether and how practitioners involved in the promotion of breastfeeding incorporate dimensions of health literacy as described in the current literature. Although there is little evidence that practitioners are familiar with specific definitions of health literacy, their description of practices reflected various facets of health literacy including functional health literacy, interactive and critical health literacy, and health literacy as composed of multiple literacies. This qualitative case study was set in a rural health district in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where breastfeeding initiation and duration rates are lower than national averages and where health literacy was identified as a community health issue. In-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with 30 professional and lay practitioners. Practices in one hospital-based and two community-based settings were observed. Data were analyzed for themes using an iterative process of constant comparison. Interview informants and mothers provided feedback on preliminary findings in focus group interviews. Findings reflect an emphasis on the transmission of information to persuade mothers to breastfeed, in contrast to strengthening their capacity to use information in making or acting on choices about how to feed their babies. Practitioners’ discomfort in identifying clients with low literacy skills raises fundamental concerns about the stigma associated with low literacy. A focus on the functional health literacy deficiencies of clients, not on their capacities, appears limiting in addressing the complexities of breastfeeding promotion. There is little evidence of practices which reflect critical health literacy or efforts to reduce structural barriers to breastfeeding. In conclusion, the study suggests that practitioners’ engagement in critical reflection of their breastfeeding promotion practices through the multidimensional frame of health literacy could help to further their practice and the conceptual development of health literacy.

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United Kingdom
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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    0
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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visibility
download
citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
views
OpenAIRE UsageCountsViews provided by UsageCounts
downloads
OpenAIRE UsageCountsDownloads provided by UsageCounts
0
Average
Average
Average
35
550
Funded by
CIHR
Project
  • Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
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