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Use of an interactive computer agent to support breastfeeding.

Randomized controlled trial
Edwards RA, et al. Matern Child Health J. 2013.


Mothers need consistent, sustained information and support to develop and meet personal breastfeeding goals, but often receive insufficient assistance and conflicting and incorrect advice. The use of technology may be helpful in supplementing existing health care professional breastfeeding education and support efforts. We developed and evaluated a computer-based animated, interactive agent designed to provide breastfeeding information and support to mothers interested in breastfeeding. A randomized controlled study of a first-generation system was conducted to determine the feasibility of (1) use of the Computer Agent; (2) the recruitment plan; and (3) the planned outcome evaluation (assessing the impact of the intervention on intent to breastfeed, attitudes towards breastfeeding, and breastfeeding self-efficacy). The pilot study (N = 15) showed that the use of the Computer Agent, the recruitment plan, and the planned outcome evaluation were all feasible. Mothers who used the Computer Agent had greater intentions to exclusively breastfeed after exposure to the Agent (intent to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months 1-7 scale score of 6.14 (post) vs. 5.14 (pre); p < 0.05). Non-statistically significant trends in improvement with use of the Computer Agent breastfeeding support system were also seen in the between subjects analyses of intent to breastfeed and breastfeeding self-efficacy. The pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of using a Computer Agent to support breastfeeding mothers and informed the design of a larger randomized clinical trial. An interactive Computer Agent may be helpful in improving rates of exclusive breastfeeding, particularly when there is not adequate health care professional support.


23329167 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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