A major problem in the measurement of patient satisfaction is the lack of an adequate theory to explain the meaning of satisfaction, and hence how it should be measured and how the findings are interpreted. Because of the lack of a fully developed theory, when developing patient satisfaction questionnaires for use in general practice, a simple model was used. This model was pragmatic in that it linked together empirical evidence about patient satisfaction without recourse to more general social or psychological theory of behaviour, other than to define satisfaction as an attitude. Several studies with the questionnaires confirm in general the components of the model. However, the importance of personal care had not been sufficiently emphasised, and therefore the model has been revised. It can now serve as a basis for future research into patient satisfaction, in particular as a stimulus for investigating the links between components of the model and underlying psychological or other behavioural theories.
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