Social psychological determinants of patient satisfaction: a test of five hypothesis

Soc Sci Med. 1982;16(5):583-9. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(82)90312-4.


Five hypothesis regarding the social psychological determinants of patient satisfaction were tested among patients attending the primary care clinics of a university medical center in Manhatten. The social psychological variables operationalized here were expectations, values, entitlement and perceived occurrences; the three dimensions of satisfaction studied were doctor conduct, convenience and general satisfaction. The social psychological variables together were found to explain only a small proportion of the variance in satisfaction, although their contribution varied with the dimension of satisfaction. Expectations consistantly explained most of the variance in satisfaction ratings; particularly noteworthy was the direct effect of prior expectations of the doctor's conduct on subsequent satisfaction with that dimension of the care received. Values had little independent effect on satisfaction, and the combination of values and expectations (their interaction) was unrelated to satisfaction. Feelings of entitlement were also unrelated to satisfaction ratings. There was some support for the discrepancy model, which holds that the greater the discrepancy between perceived occurrences and prior expectations the less the satisfaction. The importance of carrying out further methodological studies aimed at developing reliable measures of these constructs is stressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Psychology, Social*
  • Socioeconomic Factors