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Institute for Global Health and Development - Staff Profiles

Dr Bregje de Kok, Lecturer in International Health, IGHD

Contact Bregje

Areas of interest

  • Sexual and Reproductive health, in particular:
    • social aspects of ‘loss in childbearing’ including maternal mortality, spontaneous and induced abortions, and infertility.
    • quality of maternal health care
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health & human rights
  • Qualitative research methodology, including discourse analysis and conversation analysis.
  • Technology enhanced and distance learning


I am a psychologist by background, and much of my work is closely related to critical health psychology and discursive psychology. However, I draw on various social sciences and public health in my work and greatly value interdisciplinary work.

I have considerable research experience in the U.K and in Malawi. In my doctoral research, I examined constructions of infertility in Malawi by women and men with a fertility problem, their relatives and (biomedical and indigenous) practitioners. Practical implications of the findings have been published as a report, which was discussed with the Ministry of Health in Malawi, local NGOs and medical (training) institutions. I have also been involved in studies of the health visiting service in Scotland. One of these concerned Pakistani and Chinese mothers in Scotland and their experiences of parenthood and the health visiting service.

Bregje has recently taken up a post as assistant professor at the Anthropology Department of the University of Amsterdam but will continue to work at IGHD on a part-time basis



My current research focuses on maternal and perinatal health. In 2013 I was awarded one out of 5 early career fellowships by the Independent Social Research Foundation to conduct research on loss in childbearing in Malawi. This study examines practitioners’ and communities’ interpretations of accountability and blame for pregnancy complication and loss in childbearing, and women’s entitlements to care. The project seeks to generate knowledge for the design of contextualised health services and health systems. Read more...

In 2014 I worked as discourse specialist on the project 'Generating accountability for maternal health outcomes in Nigeria through audit and improvement of maternity record linkage systems' funded by the MacArthur foundation (PI Dr. Julia Hussein, Universty of Aberdeen).


Recent publications

Journal papers

Hogg,R.,  de Kok,B., Netto, G.,  Hanley, J. and Haycock-Stuart, E. (2014)  Supporting Pakistani and Chinese families with young children: perspectives of mothers and health visitors. Child: Care, health and development.

Simwaka, A.,  Kok, B. C. de. & Chilemba, W. (2014).  Women’s Perceptions of Nurses’ Caring Behaviours during Perinatal Loss in Lilongwe, Malawi: An Exploratory Study. Malawi Medical Journal

Kok, B. C. de (2013) Infertility and relationships: the importance of constructions in context, Families, Relationships and Societies, 2(1) , 23–42

Hogg, R., Ritchie, D. de Kok, B., Wood, C. & Huby, G. (2013). Parenting support for families with young children – a public health, user-focused study undertaken in a semi-rural area of Scotland. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22, 1140–1150.

Kok, B. de, Hussein, J. & Jeffery, P. (2010). Introduction: Loss in childbearing in resource-poor settings. Social Science and Medicine, 71(10), 1703-1710.

Kok, B. C. de (2010). Interpersonal issues in expressing lay knowledge: A discursive psychology approach. Journal of Health Psychology, 15, 1190-1200. doi: 10.1177/1359105310364437

Kok, B. C. de (2009). 'Automatically you become a polygamist': 'Culture' and 'norms' as resources for normalisation and managing accountability in talk about infertility. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 13: 197-217. doi: 10.1177/1363459308099684

Kok, B. C. de & Widdicombe, S. (2008) ‘I really tried’: Management of normative issues in accounts of responses to infertility. Social Science and Medicine, 67, 1083–1093. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.05.007.

Kok, B. de (2008). The role of context in conversation analysis: Reviving an interest in ethno-methods. Journal of Pragmatics, 40(5), 886-903. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2007.09.007

Books and Book Chapters

Kok, B. C. de . (2012). Discursive Psychology and its potential to make a difference. In C. Horrocks and Johnstone (eds). Advances in Health Psychology: Critical Approaches. Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan

Kok, B. de (2005). Christianity and African Traditional Religion in Malawi: Two realities of a different  kind. Oxford : African Books Collective (ISBN 99908-76- 17-7)


Kok, B. C. de (2013). The role of discourse analysis in critical health psychology. Connected: Newsletter for the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, 1 (4), 3.

Kok, B. C. de, Laurier, E., Widdicombe, S. (2012). Managing adherence to ART: What lessons can we learn from the analysis of provider-client interactions? Workshop report. Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University. For more information see:

Kok, B. de (2008). Talking about infertility in Malawi: A starting point for developing
interventions in order to alleviate the problem of infertility. (pdf 107KB).

Kok, B. de (2008). Infertility in Malawi: Exploring its impact and social consequences. Edinburgh: CRFR. Available at:

Hogg, R., Kok, B., de, Hanley, J.,  Haycock-Steward, E., Macpherson, C. & Netto, G. (2006). An  analysis of experiences of Pakistani and Chinese mothers of parenthood and of the health visiting services. Report for the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Executive).

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