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Prof Kerry Chamberlain staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43107

Prof Kerry Chamberlain


School of Psychology

Kerry is a critical social and health psychologist whose current research interests focus on health in everyday life, with a particular interest in topics that advance understandings of disadvantage and provide assistance for disadvantaged peoples. More specifically, his research interests include: 1) food and health (including the medicalisation of food, social practices around food and healthy eating, dietary practices, and food supplementation); 2) media and health (including media representations of health issues generally, the understanding and uptake of media messages, the marketing of medications, and the mediation of health issues broadly in contemporary society); 3) the meanings of medication (including lay understandings of medications, consumption and the everyday use of medications, the changing nature of medications, especially in relation to functional foods and nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticalisation of society); 4) everyday illness (illnesses that are recurring, not severe, and are generally treated with self-care or minor consultations, including mundane and ongoing illness, and the relation of these to understandings of the body and bodily functioning). He utilises mainly qualitative research methodologies in his research, predominantly critical discursive approaches, and innovative methods, such as photo-elicitation, diaries, maps, and the use of material objects like personal possessions and photographs, to reveal the materiality and social practices of everyday life. 

Kerry is a critical social and health psychologist with research interests in health and the everyday, with a specific focus on medications, media, materiality, mundane ailments, food, and disadvantage, and in innovative qualitative research methodologies.  He has recently held grants from the Marsden Fund for research into cultures of homelessness and into the social lives of medications, and from the Health Research Council for research into medications in the home.

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Contact details

  • Ph: (09) 414 0800 ext 41226
    Location: 3.21, North Shore Library Building Albany Village
    Campus: Auckland

Research Expertise

Research Interests

critical health psychology; social psychology;  health and  everyday life; lay understandings of medications; medicalisation of society; heallth and the media; the materiality of everyday life; chronic illness and mundane ailments; food and health; poverty and disadvantage; qualitative research; innovative qualitative research methodologies.


21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106): Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis (170110): Psychology (170100): Psychology And Cognitive Sciences (170000): Social and Community Psychology (170113):
Sociological Methodology and Research Methods (160807): Sociology (160800): Sociology not elsewhere classified (160899): Studies In Human Society (160000): Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 12

Completed Projects

Project Title: Social Meanings of Medications

This project explores the social meanings of medications and their everyday use in domestic settings (covering all forms of medication ¿ medical drugs, alternative medicines, dietary supplements, etc.). It seeks to answer questions like: How has our society come to believe there is a pill for every ill? How do medications enter into people¿s lives? What meanings do medications hold for people? How do people use medications and for what purposes? Currently, we know little about these issues. We investigate the ¿social lives¿ of medications ¿ how, in the hands of people, they are shared and exchanged, represent relief from suffering or preservation of health, and give meaning to personal identities, social relationships, caring, love, healing and hope. The home is a key place for the everyday use of medications. We will sample households of two types, those containing people with chronic illness and those containing users of alternative medications. Information will be sought through interviews, discussions, observations, diaries and photographic tasks, and the contents of medicine cabinets. We will discern what medications are present, their pathways through households, their meanings, and practices involving their use, to provide new knowledge about how medications are woven into domestic contexts and lives.
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Date Range: 2009 - 2012

Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Full

Project Team:

Project Title: Medications in Everyday Life: Understandings and Social Practices

This study investigates the social life of medications and the uses and meanings of medications.
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Date Range: 2008 - 2012

Funding Body: Health Research Council of New Zealand

Project Team:

Research Outputs


Hodgetts, D., Young-Hauser, A., Chamberlain, K., Gabe, J., Dew, K., & Norris, P. (2017). Pharmaceuticalisation in the city. Urban Studies. 54(15), 3542-3559
[Journal article]Authored by: Chamberlain, K., Hodgetts, D.
Chamberlain, K., Lyons, AC., & Stephens, C. (2017). Critical health psychology in New Zealand: Developments, directions and reflections.. J Health Psychol. , 1359105317734871
[Journal article]Authored by: Chamberlain, K., Lyons, A., Stephens, C.


Hodgetts, DJ., Groot, S., Garden, E., & Chamberlain, K. (2017). The precariat, everyday life and objects of despair. In C. Howarth, & E. Andreouli (Eds.) The Social Psychology of Everyday Politics. (pp. 173 - 188). New York, United States of America: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
[Chapter]Authored by: Chamberlain, K., Hodgetts, D.
Hodgetts, DJ., Garden, E., Groot, S., & Chamberlain, K. (2015). Debt in the everyday lives of 100 families experiencing urban poverty in New Zealand. In SM. Değirmencioğlu, & C. Walker (Eds.) Social and Psychological Dimensions of Personal Debt and the Debt Industry. (pp. 19 - 38). London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan
[Chapter]Authored by: Chamberlain, K., Hodgetts, D.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 5 19
CoSupervisor 5 5


Completed Masters and Honours supervision 2014 -

Wilson, Kim. (2016) Constructions of welfare recipients in New Zealand newspapers: An examination of discourse and policy (MA, 120 pt)

Young, Megan. (2016) The point of me: Stories of living with dying in a weblog of terminal cancer (MA, 60 pt)

Isler, Nadine (2015) “This is me” A look at user self-presentation on Facebook: Navigating tensions in the online world of identity creation (MSc, 120 pt)

Pearse-Otone, Helen (2015) Staging areas: Vietnam veterans from Aotearoa-New Zealand and therapeutic landscapes in black-box theatre (MA, 120 pt)

Dykzeul, Amanda. (2015) The last taboo in sport: Menstruation in female adventure racers (MSc, 90 pt)

Watson, Sinead. (2015) What's in the lunchbox: Pre-schoolers and healthy food (MSc, 120 pt)

Torrington, Ciaran. (2015) The challenges of living with pesticide poisoning in Aotearoa/NZ. (MA, 120 pt)

Flores, Nancy. (2015) Latinos, migration and health (MSc, 120 pt)

Steyn, Minette. (2014) How doctors cope with dying patients (MSc, 120 pt)

Hetherington, Murray. (2014) Illness, man-flu and masculinity in a gender-orientated context. (MA, 120 pt)

Tapper, Karen. (2014) Adult learning: An arts-based approach. (MA, 120 pt)

Nath, Namrata. (2014) Health, weight and the body: Intergenerational understandings of Indo-Fijian women (MA, 120 pt)

Stec, Elizabeth. (2104) The experience of emerging adult orphans. (MA, 120 pt)

He Zhang, Rebecca. (2014) Migration, alcohol use and concept of alcohol drinking behaviours amongst Chinese migrants in New Zealand (MA, 120 pt)

Hayman, Janet. (2016) Disembodied social life: Theorizing the on-going social presence of the born-still on Facebook  (BSc Honours, 30 pt)

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Megan Young - PhD
    Outside In: Portraits of Identity and Belonging in the Lived Experience of Burns Scarring
  • Madeleine Haerewa - PhD
    Getting insight into the health needs of Maori youth: Perspectives of students attending alternative education
  • Kayla Marshall - PhD
    Gender-subversive bodies on Instagram: Problematizing dualistic cultural understandings of gender and exposing the fluidity of people’s gendered realities
  • Antonia Dodds - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Retirement villages in New Zealand
  • Kathryn McGuigan - PhD
    The community pharmacy: A conflicted site of health care?

CoSupervisor of:

  • Robyn Vertongen - PhD
    How do Young People Make Sense of Sexually Explicit Internet Material?
  • Kate Hebenton - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Experiences of preschool children involved in an intergenerational programme
  • Adi Papirany - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Narratives of Victims and Bullies in the Social Practice of Cyberbullying
  • Rebekah Graham - PhD
    A rupture in food traditions is a rupture in self

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2016 - Sarah Marie Cluley - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Fathers of children with cancer: A narrative inquiry
  • 2014 - Rachel Clare Hallas - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Narratives of Clients' Experiences of Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy
  • 2014 - Joanna Gemma Maria Sheridan - PhD
    Judging a Book by its Cover: The narrativity, materiality and performativity of successful slimming
  • 2013 - Rebecca Yvonne Wirihana - PhD
    Nga Purakau o nga kaihautu wahine Maori o Aotearoa The stories of Maori women leaders in New Zealand
  • 2012 - Glenis Tabetha Mark - PhD
    Rongoa Maori (Traditional Maori healing) through the eyes of Maori healers: Sharing the Healing while Keeping the Tapu
  • 2012 - Helen Madden - PhD
    Integrative medicine: A contested practice
  • 2011 - Roslyn Louise Munro - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Journeys through adolescence: Narratives of teenage boys
  • 2011 - Hyunok Jeon - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    Hybridising identities by Korean mothers & daughters in New Zealand
  • 2010 - Juan Chen - Doctor of Clinical Psychology
    A cultural approach to understanding and working with Chinese migrants in psychological intervention in New Zealand
  • 2005 - Ms Jane Elizabeth Cherrington - PhD
    Blood Brothers and Southern Men: Engaging with Alcohol Advertising in Aotearoa.
  • 2005 - Ms Kerryellen Vroman - PhD
    Low Back Pain: A Personal Projects Analysis
  • 2003 - Ms Melanie Fleur Martin - PhD
  • 2003 - Mrs Margaret Anne Adams Williams - PhD
    `You Don't Know What It's Like': The Lived Experience of Drug Dependence.
  • 2003 - Mrs Ruth Christine Mortimer - PhD
    The Endometriosis Stories: A Narrative Analysis.
  • 2002 - Mr Glen Leonard Haddon - PhD
    Cognitive Determinants of Treatment Choice Among Cancer Patients.
  • 2000 - Mr Darrin James Hodgetts - PhD
    Understanding Health and Illness: An Investigation of New Zealand Television and Lay Accounts.
  • 1995 - Mr Richard John Laird - PhD
    Illness Cognitions and Health Behaviours in Adult Asthmatics
  • 1995 - Mrs Helen Marguerite Foster - PhD
    The Process of Coping: An Alternative Examination
  • 1994 - Mr Graeme Rex Beaumont - PhD
    Suicidal Ideation in a non-clinical sample: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Relationships with minor stressors, depression, hopelessness and coping behaviour.

CoSupervisor of:

  • 2014 - Siu Chun Tse - PhD
    Harmonisation of self: Narratives of older Chinese about ageing,health and wellbeing
  • 2011 - Trudie Melissa Cain - PhD
    Bounded Bodies: The everyday clothing practices of larger women
  • 2010 - Karin Menon - PhD
    Sense of identity among Samoan migrant women at work and living in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • 2003 - Ms Karen Elizabeth Frewin - PhD
    Theorising `SELF' Poststructuralist Interpretations of Self Construction and Psychotherapy.
  • 1996 - Mrs Sheryl Corinne Zika - PhD
    Psychosocial Correlates of the Short Term Course of Multiple Sclerosis.

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