This study investigated patient and physician perceptions of their relationship and examined how their perceptions related to patient satisfaction. Data are based on 134 patient-physician interactions. Study participants included 12 physicians (five women and seven men) and 134 male patients with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus being seen on an outpatient basis. Information on patient and physician demographics, patient's metabolic control and functional status and time spent in the interaction were also collected. Results revealed that patients with lower levels of education were most satisfied and that physicians who viewed the relationship as a patient-physician partnership had more satisfied patients than those who viewed the relationship as physician controlled. Findings also indicated that physicians' gender and number of years in practice were not related to patient satisfaction. Practical implications include: (1) increasing attention to physician's perceptions of his or her relationship with individual patients and (2) exposing newly trained physicians to partnership types of relationships, if future research confirms these findings in chronic disease management.