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Comparing the frequency of maternal soother/pacifier offering in three ethno-cultural groups: a descriptive study Lagen, Reina Eveliene Van


The purpose of this study was to compare the frequency of maternal soother/pacifier offering in three ethno-cultural groups: Anglo-Canadian, South Asian, and Chinese. In addition, the intent was to describe reasons for soother use by caregivers and alternatives to soother use. The conceptual framework used in this study included three central concepts: an adaptive process of attachment; infant-maternal reciprocity; and Kleinman's (1980) model of cognitive coping processes. A mixed design was used which included a descriptive component and a comparative survey. Data were collected using nonprobability convenience sampling. The sample included both mothers who were breastfeeding and formula feeding their infants. All participants completed a short series of questions, and recorded, on three different days, all of the times over a 24 hour period when their babies were offered pacifiers. The subjects recorded their reasons for offering soothers to their infants and their perceptions of alternate soothing measures. The study sample consisted of thirtythree mother/infant dyads. Frequencies of soother offering were calculated and graphically illustrated. These data were also summarized using descriptive statistics. The means of the three different groups were calculated and compared, using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the medians of the three different groups. Content categories were used to summarize reasons for soother offering by primary caregivers and their alternative soothing measures. The results indicated that there was a significantly greater frequency of maternal soother offering among mothers in the Anglo-Canadian culture compared to mothers in the Chinese culture. Three themes subsumed the reasons for soother offering: a nonnutritive sucking need; mother's time demand; and fussing and crying periods. Alternate soothing measures included both similarities and differences across the cultural groups. Implications for nursing practice, education, and research are discussed.

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