dr. Barbara Schouten

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences: Persuasive Communication
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
    1018 WV Amsterdam
  • b.c.schouten@uva.nl

Naam: Dr. Barbara C. Schouten
PhD: 2002, University of Amsterdam
Promotor: Prof. Johan Hoogstraten & Prof. Michiel Eijkman
MSc: 1996, University of Amsterdam, Cum Laude
Onderzoek: My research focuses on intercultural health communication, in particular on cultural differences in patient preferences for information and participation, the use of healthcare interpreters, physician-patient interaction and intervention evaluations. I am also involved in research into the use of new media technologies in (mental) health communication, including Entertainment Education and Ehealth. I have received grants for both national and international research projects.
Specialties: primary care, intercultural communication; interpreters; eHealth; entertainment-education

Projects: Below is a list of the main research projects I am currently involved in as a researcher and/or supervisor:

  • Enhancing patient participation among older and migrant cancer patients through eHealth

The incidence of older and migrant cancer patients is on the rise in the Netherlands. The language barrier is one of the main impediments to adequate health communication in oncological care for migrant patients. Therefore, in this project an oncological multilingual eHealth module has been developed and evaluated, consisting of patient educational narratives and Question Prompt Lists for older Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch cancer patients. First pilot-results indicate that both patients and healthcare providers found the module to be useful and were motivated to implement the tool in practice. Both patients and healthcare providers reported patients to be more involved during the consultation than usual, indicating that decreasing the language barrier by means of this eHealth tool is a fruitful approach to increasing patient participation for older Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch cancer patients. The module can be found on this website: https://www.healthcommunication.nl/blog/category/tools/

  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Barbara Schouten, Prof. Julia van Weert, Prof. Maria van den Muijsenbergh
  • Status: PhD project end date October 2020
  • Funding agency: Dutch Cancer Society
  • Total amount of grant money: €198.000


  • Urban Mental Health and Modelling Symptom Networks. From Network Analysis to Interventions

Many common mental health problems (addictions, anxieties, depressions) and related problems (e.g., loneliness) do not come in isolation but in clusters of symptoms. In symptom network models, symptoms are not seen as indicators of an underlying latent factor, but the causal interplay of the symptoms is the mental disorder. Importantly, in network models, symptoms do not “stop at the border of diagnoses” and symptoms traditionally related to other disorders can play an important role. This is important in understanding and treating addictions and related problems where comorbidity is rule rather than exception. General aim of this PhD project is 1) to develop a network-based method to map an individual’s problems including the interactions between symptoms and external factors influencing these symptoms (e.g., other people, physical contexts, etc.) and 2) to develop and test personalized interventions based on this method. The interventions will be developed in collaboration with clients and clinicians. The causal interplay of the network of symptoms and factors related to these symptoms will be identified through modelling of rich temporal real-time data assessed with ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The personalized interventions will be based on the retrieved insights regarding causal relations and tested in multiple samples: a student sample in higher education, who increasingly experience mental health problems, and a vulnerable sample of adolescent ethnic minorities.

  • Principal Investigators: Prof. Reinout Wiers, Prof. Julia van Weert, Dr. Sacha Epskamp, Dr. Barbara Schouten
  • Status: PhD project end date February 2024
  • Funding agency: Centre for Urban Mental Health
  • Total amount of grant money: €440.000


  • Online Health Information for older cancer patients: The Patient Navigator

Many cancer patients increasingly search for health-related information online. Aim of this study is to indentify predictors and outcomes of online health information seeking by older cancer patients. Further, an online patient-centered tool that is developed for newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients is evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. Results indicate that higher age, lower educational level, and more cancer-related stress are positively related to amount of online health information seeking. However, no effects were found of online health information seeking on patient participation levels, satisfaction with the consultation and information recall. With regard to the Patient Navigator, information will be provided to patients in different multimedia formats. Therefore, we expect that this tool will positively influence patient participation during consultations with clinicians, evaluation of the information provision and information recall.

  • Principal Investigators: Prof. Julia van Weert, Prof. Ellen Smets, Dr. Barbara Schouten
  • Status: PhD project end date 2021
  • Funding agency: ASCoR

Other studies:

Interpreter-mediated communication in general practice (with Rena Zendedel, Julia van Weert & Bas v.d. Putte)

The Health Communicator: systematic development of a digital tool for bridging language and cultural barriers between elderly patients and their care providers (with Hande Sungur, Julia van Weert, and Maria van den Muijsenbergh)

Communication with Turkish patients in general practice: Intercultural medical communication (with Sanne Schinkel, Julia van Weert & Bas v.d. Putte).

Dance4life: Involving adolescents in an HIV prevention program (with Barbara Schouten, Silvia Hermanns, Annemiek Linn and Martijn Vlug)