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  • Susan Flagler Virden RN, DNS

    Research Fellow, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Susan Flagler Virden is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholars Program at the University of Rochester. Her research focuses on maternal role transition for women experiencing high risk pregnancies. She is on leave from her position as Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington. She received her undergraduate degree in nursing from UCLA and her graduate degrees in Family Health Care Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She is a member of ANA, Sigma Theta Tau, and NAACOG.

  • This project was funded in part by the University of California San Francisco Graduate Division and the Alpha Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.

Clinical Nurse Scholars Program, School of Nursing, Helen Wood Hall, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642.


The benefits of breastfeeding for the infant are well known. Much less is known, however, about how the woman's choice of feeding method is related to her maternal role adjustment during the initial weeks postpartum. Mother-infant mutuality and maternal anxiety scores of 60 first time mothers were examined using analysis of variance techniques. Method of infant feeding (breast, bottle, or combination) was found to be responsible for a significant amount of the variance in both scores. At one month postpartum, women who breastfed their infants had scores indicating less anxiety and more mutuality than the women bottle feeding their infants. An interpretation of the results using role theory concepts provides a possible explanation of the relationships found. Differences in the character of interactions involved with breast and bottle feeding may influence other aspects of maternal role transitions.