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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Reproductive behaviour in long term displaced situations

Principal researcher

Marieke van der Pers

Type of research

PhD research


Professor Inge Hutter


  • NOHA: Network on Humanitarian Assistance ( Ir. Renée Bakker)
  • Department of Mother's and Children's Health; International Maternal and Child Health; International Maternal and Child Health; Centre for Public Health in Humanitarian Action, University of Uppsala, Sweden ( Professor Birgitta Essen and Drs Magdalena Bjerneld)
  • Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychopathology, University of Groningen (Dr. Theo Bouman)


  • January 2008 - January 2012


Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen

Summary of the project

The study is driven by the fact that displaced populations are exposed to various reproductive health problems which are determined by a complex set of factors. Little is known about the decision making process concerning reproductive issues of those being displaced and it seems that there is a lack understanding about what (sexual) relations and reproduction actually mean to them, which makes it difficult to understand and foresee reproductive (health) outcomes.

The study aims to establish a framework that relates a changing situation to the function of particular individual behaviour in coping with the situation by incorporating cognitive appraisal and coping mechanisms as particular personality traits which determine the decision making process to a large extent. Within this framework t he key interest is to gain insight in whether reproduction and its behavioural determinants play a role in restoring or maintaining particular coping resources and options in order to deal with stressful appraisals related to work, health and family matters.

The framework enables to understand when, why, and for whom reproductive related events are important.Finally attention is given to if and how this function would affect the reproductive (health) situation of the displaced population and how interventionists can anticipate on this in order to reduce the reproductive health risks and problems.

Case studies among displaced persons will be selected on the basis of the theoretical framework and expertise of the three host institutions. At individual level qualitative research followed by a household survey will be conducted to get insight in cognitive appraisals, coping resources and options as well as motivations for and decision making in reproductive behaviour of displaced persons.  


  • Workshop on Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy, 23-25 June 2008, Southampton
  • European Population Conference 2008, 9-12 July, Barcelona. Paper "Reproductive behaviour in long term displaced situations, a research proposal"

Work in progress

Last modified:15 November 2012 2.26 p.m.