The effect of continuity of physician on satisfaction with medical care was examined in a sample of 370 families of disabled children receiving care from four specialty clinics of teaching hospitals. Families of children with myelodysplasia, cystic fibrosis (CF), cerebral palsy and multiple physical handicaps were included. A comparison of scores on the eight scales of the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire across the four clinics revealed marked and consistent differences: patients of cystic fibrosis clinic scored significantly higher than patients of other clinics on most scales. Multiple regression analysis in which source of care (CF clinic versus other clinics), continuity of care, waiting time and patient and family characteristics (income, race, education, level of disability) were used as predictors indicated that continuity of care accounted for a large part of the association between source of care and satisfaction. Further, when continuity of physician and waiting time in the clinic were held constant, patients of the CF clinic were indistinguishable from patients of other clinics in their satisfaction with doctors and with medical care. Further analysis revealed that continuity of care contributed to patient satisfaction not only in a clinic that constitutes a patient's principal source of care, but also in a clinic in which only specialized care is given, excluding care for intercurrent illnesses or immunizations.