Interpersonal and organizational dimensions of patient satisfaction: the moderating effects of health status

Int J Qual Health Care. 2003 Aug;15(4):337-44. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzg042.


Objectives: Based on Donabedian's structure, process, and outcome model, this study was conducted to identify the underlying dimensions of patient satisfaction for diabetic patients and determine the effects of demographic characteristics and health status on these dimensions.

Design: A cross-sectional analytical research design was used with a questionnaire, comprising demographic characteristics, the general and mental health items from the SF-20, and a 25-item patient satisfaction scale.

Setting and study participants: The questionnaire was administered to 263 South African black diabetic outpatients from the diabetic clinics at two hospitals. There were 174 females and 89 males, aged between 16 and 89 years (mean = 53.5, sd = 13.9). The average number of years of schooling was 6.3 (sd = 4.1). Main outcome measure. A reliable and valid patient satisfaction scale.

Results: Factor analysis was conducted on the patient satisfaction scale and two factors, accounting for 71.6% of the variance, were extracted. The major items on Factor I were support, consideration, friendliness, and encouragement, labelled the interpersonal dimension. Factor II emphasized availability of a seat and toilet in the waiting area and cleanliness, labelled the organizational dimension. The two factors had very good reliability coefficients: 0.85 (organizational) and 0.98 (interpersonal). Multi-trait scaling showed that all items exceeded the item convergent (r > 0.40) and discriminant (Z > 1.96) validity criteria. Patients in poor general health were significantly less satisfied (P = 0.007) with the organizational quality of their care than patients in good health; patients in poor mental health were significantly less satisfied (P = 0.04) with the interpersonal quality of their care than patients in good mental health.

Conclusions: The findings provided support for Donabedian's model. They demonstrated that attributes of providers and settings are major components of patient satisfaction, and showed that the scale is a reliable and valid measure of patient satisfaction for this South African population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blacks
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Hospital-Patient Relations*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • South Africa / epidemiology