Arwen H. Pieterse, PhD

Communication researcher

Area(s) of interest

  • clinician and patient treatment preferences
  • treatment decision making, shared decision making
  • clinician-patient communication


I conduct and supervise research on shared decision making and related topics, including patient preference studies, values clarification, doctor-patient communication relating to decision making processes, and the design and validation of assessment methods. Happy to collaborate!


Arwen Pieterse studied Psychology at Leiden University and obtained her Master’s degree in Cognitive Psychology (with honours) in 1998. In 2005 she obtained her PhD from Utrecht University after completing her thesis at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), on a study on communication during cancer genetic counselling. From February 2006 to December 2008 she was appointed as post-doctoral researcher at the  division of Medical Decision Making of the LUMC, on a study assessing quality of life in rectal cancer patients, their preferences regarding pre-operative radiotherapy and their preferred role in treatment decision-making. From December 2008 to December 2011, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Dutch Cancer Society. Since January 2012, she is staff member at this Department. Her main research interest is how patients can be supported in evaluating what is most important to them when facing treatment decisions. She is currently PI for studies looking at the evidence underlying preference-sensitive treatment decisions in oncology and how clinicians weigh the evidence, an experimental study assessing communication behaviour and the effect on perceived choice, and the development and validation of a patient and oncologist questionnaire to assess SDM. In September 2018, she received the Jozien Bensing Research Award from the International Association for Communication in healthcare (EACH), for her post-doctoral research on shared decision making, that condicted with her colleagues within and outside the LUMC.         



Leiden University Medical Center
Building 1
Room J10-89

Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Tel: 71 5265880

Postalzone J10-S
P.O. Box 9600
2300 RC Leiden
The Netherlands