Illness and satisfaction with medical care

Debra L. Roter, Michael A. Milburn, Judith A. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Patients who have worse physiacal or mental health are less satisfied with their medical care than patients in better health. This article describes research that explores the causal underpinnings of this correlation. Does poor health cause dissatisfaction, or does dissatisfaction cause poor health? And is the dissatisfaction of sicker patients attributable to their own state of mind, or rather to how they are treated by their doctors? It appears that, predominantly, dissatisfaction follows from poorer health rather than vice versa, and moreover that sicker patients' negative outlook is a pervasive cause of their lower satisfaction. However, there is also evidence that physicians' reactions to sicker patients, in the form of curtailed social conversation, also play a role in the reduces satisfaction of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-99
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Health status
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Physician behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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