Toward a theory of patient satisfaction

Soc Sci Med. 1982;16(5):577-82. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(82)90311-2.


Despite the widespread concern in health care literature with patients'--or clients'--satisfaction, there has been no explicit definition of that concept nor systematic consideration of its determinants and consequences. The definition of satisfaction proposed here is derived from Fishbein and Ajzen's attitude theory and from job satisfaction research. Among the various probable determinants of a patient's satisfaction with health care are his/her attitudes and perceptions prior to experiencing that care; after reviewing relevant social science theories, we hypothesize five such social psychological variables which affect satisfaction ratings. The present attempt to define the concept patient satisfaction and to hypothesize some of its determinants can be regarded as first steps in building a theory of patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Psychology, Social