Evaluating quality hospital service: The relationship of expectations and social support to patients' perceptions

Date of Completion

January 1995


Psychology, Social|Education, Adult and Continuing|Health Sciences, Health Care Management




This study measured the degree to which customers were satisfied with the quality of hospital service they received while they were in-patients in a Connecticut hospital. The theoretical rationale for the study was based on Parasuraman et al.'s (1985) quality of service model that is supported by related total quality models.^ Subjects (N = 150) completed a 4-part, self-report attitudinal instrument, the Quality of Hospital Service in which they indicated their sex, age, education, insurance status, and employment status, expectations of their hospital stay (6-item instrument), perceptions of the medical service (16-item instrument), and perceived social support (6-item instrument). The Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service section of the QHS was adapted from the SERVQUAL instrument that was previously found to be reliable and valid in studies of service and retail organizations.^ The first research question was: "What combination of variables define the factor structure of Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service?" A factor analysis revealed that the Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service instrument defined a one-factor structure with high internal consistency. The second question was: "What is the relationship of the independent variables (sex, employment status, and insurance status) with the perceived satisfaction level of quality hospital service as measured by the total score of Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service?" An analysis using 3 one-way analyses of variance, indicated that there were no significant differences among subjects within the categorical groups and the dependent variable, Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service. The third question was: "What combination of variables, Patients' Expectations, Social Support, age, and years of education measure the variance of the perceived satisfaction level of quality hospital service as measured by the Perceptions of Quality Hospital Service?" A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that the variables Patients' Expectations and Social Support explained 50% of the variance in the dependent variable.^ The results of this study are important because they underscore the relationship between patients' expectations, social support, and perceptions of quality hospital service. The results, especially those regarding the relationship between expectations and the perceptions of hospital experience, are consistent with the research in Adult and Experiential Learning. ^