In a questionnaire study of 700 patients from a large UK National Health Service
general hospital, proximal and organizational aspects of patient satisfaction were
studied. Factor analysis revealed three components of proximal patient satisfaction: overall process of care in the hospital; improuemcnt in and understanding of health; and psychological well-being. Eleven scales measuring relevant aspects of hospital care and environment were derived. In a second study, involving 483 patients from a different general hospital, confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the robustness of the factor structure derived in the first study. Finally, aspects of care that best predicted satisfaction were identified. These included nursing and medical information practices, socialization procedures and patient participation. The implications of these findings are explored in the context of organizational theories of participation and the potential applications of the findings are considered.