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Psychometric Testing of the Modified Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale (Short Form) Among Mothers of Ill or Preterm Infants


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.


Barbara J. Wheeler, RN, MN, IBCLC, 409 Taché Avenue, Room D2045, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R2H 2A6.



To psychometrically assess the modified Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale–Short Form (BSES-SF) among mothers of ill or preterm infants.


Methodological study.


Three neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) located in two hospitals in a central Canadian city.


One hundred forty-four (144) breastfeeding mothers of ill or preterm infants.


Mothers completed the BSES-SF modified for mothers of ill or preterm infants, the Hill and Humenick (H&H) Lactation Scale, and demographic questions.


The Cronbach's alpha coefficient for internal consistency for the BSES-SF revised for mothers of ill or preterm infants was 0.88. Construct validity was assessed using comparison of contrasted groups (mothers who continued to breastfeed and those who discontinued) and correlation with the construct of maternal perceptions of insufficient milk supply. Support for predictive validity was demonstrated through significant mean differences between mothers who were breastfeeding (M = 83.44, SD = 8.23) and those who discontinued breastfeeding and breast pumping (M = 75.51, SD = 10.08) at 6-weeks post–infant hospital discharge.


Demographic response patterns suggest that the modified BSES-SF is a unique tool to identify breastfeeding mothers of ill or preterm infants at risk of prematurely discontinuing. This study provides evidence that the modified BSES-SF may be a valid and reliable measure of breastfeeding self-efficacy among a sample of mothers of ill or preterm infants.