Texas Tech University

Shera Thomas-Jackson, Ph.D., IBCLC

Undergraduate Program Director, Director of Practicum Experiences, Assistant Professor of Practice
Human Development and Family Sciences

Email: shera.jackson@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-8085

Office: HS 507J

Shera Thomas-Jackson, Ph.D., IBCLC

Research Focus

My expertise and research focus on the breastfeeding relationships between mothers and their infants and how that relationship is affected by various psychosocial and physiological factors. My previous work has focused on maternal self-efficacy, depression, and anxiety in examining breastfeeding and infant biosocial outcomes. As a lactation counselor, I have worked closely with women helping to establish and maintain the breastfeeding relationship. Through my clinical work, I saw how maternal mood and worries about infant feeding, impacted the relationships between mothers, infants, and feeding choices. In researching maternal psychosocial factors, I began to explore factors that directly impact breastfeeding self-efficacy, which led to work on human breast milk with a preterm infant. I am examining calorie and lipid count of human milk and their relationship to premature infant outcomes. Currently, I am working with colleagues in South Africa to survey women about breastfeeding beliefs, behaviors, and barriers. We are specifically measuring depression, state anxiety, and breastfeeding self-efficacy, as well as food security and nutritional intake.

The breastfeeding relationship exists in a complex context. Thus, examining the various aspects of the breastfeeding relationship requites an interdisciplinary approach that requires integrating information from various perspectives including not only human development and family studies, but also nutrition, sociology, communication, and business.

Another area of research interest for me is student engagement. I am interested in student involvement in extracurricular activities such as student organizations, engaging in undergraduate research, and other enrichment activities. As an advisor to an undergraduate student organization, that is affiliated with a national organization, I have become increasingly interested in expectations and benefits of those involvements.

Areas of Expertise

  • Breastfeeding and maternal-infant relationship
  • Human lactation
  • Maternal breastfeeding self-efficacy, depression, and anxiety
  • Benefits of and promoting student engagement

Selected Publications

Henderson, J., Harris, J. K., Thomas-Jackson, S. C., Thompson, L., & Mulsow, M. (2017). Campus climate: Knowledge and attitudes about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support. Clinical Lactation, 8(4), 158-168.

Thomas-Jackson, S. C., Boylan, M., & Hart, S. L. (2015). Breastfeeding self-efficacy in the mother-infant dyad. In J. Worobey (Ed.) Infant Feeding: Parental perceptions, behaviors, and health effects. Nova Science Publishers.

Thomas-Jackson, S. C., Bentley, G. E., Keyton, K., Reifman, A., Boylan, M., & Hart, S. L. (2015). In-hospital breastfeeding and intention to return to work influence mother's breastfeeding intentions. Journal of Human Lactation, 32, NP76-NP83. doi: 10.1177/0890334415597636

Hart, S. L., Jackson, S. C., & Boylan, L. M. (2011). Compromised weight gain, milk intake, and feeding behavior in breastfed newborns of depressive mothers. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 942-950. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsr031

Hart, S. L., Jackson, S. C., & Boylan, L. M. (2011). The breastfed infant's neurobehavioral organization: Implications for child health and cognitive development. In V. R. Preedy (Ed.) Handbook of behavior, food, and nutrition, pp. 533-545. Springer.

Service to the Department and Field

  • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  • Associate Editor for Clinical Lactation, official journal for the United States Lactation Consultant Association
  • Co-Advisor for Tech Council on Family Relations affiliate of National Council on Family Relations
  • Advisor for Healing in the Arts, a student-led group that includes a performance each semester