Is personality a determinant of patient satisfaction with hospital care?

Int J Qual Health Care. 2006 Apr;18(2):152-8. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzi102. Epub 2006 Feb 10.


Objective: We investigated to what extent personality is associated with patient satisfaction with hospital care. A sizeable association with personality would render patient satisfaction invalid as an indicator of hospital care quality.

Design: Overall satisfaction and satisfaction with aspects of care were regressed on the Big Five dimensions of personality, controlled for patient characteristics as possible explanatory variables of observed associations.

Participants: A total of 237 recently discharged inpatients aged 18-84 years (M = 50, SD = 17 years), 57% female, who were hospitalized for an average of 8 days.

Instruments: The Satisfaction with Hospital Care Questionnaire addressing 12 aspects of care ranging from admission procedures to discharge and aftercare and the Five-Factor Personality Inventory assessing a person's standing on Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional stability, and Autonomy.

Results: Agreeableness significantly predicted patient satisfaction in about half of the scales. After controlling for shared variance with age and educational level, the unique contribution of Agreeableness shrank to a maximum of 3-5% explained variance. When one outlier was dropped from the analysis, the contribution of Agreeableness was no longer statistically significant.

Conclusion: Patient satisfaction seems only marginally associated with personality, at least at the level of the broad Big Five dimensions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / standards
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Facility Environment
  • Hospital Units / standards*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / classification
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality / classification*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires