Measuring patient satisfaction in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. What factors play a role?

Magdalena Romanowicz, Tyler S. Oesterle, Paul E. Croarkin, Bruce Sutor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Patient satisfaction is defined as the perception that one’s general health care needs are being met. Prior research suggests that positive patient satisfaction with health care facilitates the physician–patient relationship and enhances quality of life. Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to assess patient satisfaction (as measured by the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ-18)) of patients observed by general psychiatry residents and to examine the effects of depression and anxiety on patient satisfaction. A secondary purpose was to explore the effects of three 1-h mentalization-based skills training sessions on the PSQ-18 scores of psychiatric residents. We hypothesized that depressive and anxiety symptoms would negatively impact patient satisfaction. We hypothesized that patients’ satisfaction scores would improve after mentalization training. Methods: This was a prospective case–controlled study, enrolling adult patients (n = 157) referred for psychiatric assessment in a psychiatric resident outpatient clinic. The primary outcome was patient satisfaction as measured by the PSQ-18. This outcome was compared to anxiety and depression symptoms as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item scale (GAD-7) questionnaires. Outcome data from the PSQ-18 were compared among residents before and after they completed mentalization training. The data were analyzed with univariate analyses and multiple linear regression. Results: Overall the patients were satisfied with clinician communication and interpersonal manner (4.21 ± 0.66 and 4.15 ± 0.69, respectively). The patients score on PHQ-9 was inversely related to their scores on time spent (TS) (p = 0.01) and accessibility/convenience (AC) (p = 0.0009) subscales of the PSQ-18. GAD-7 score was inversely related to patients scores on AC subscale (p = 0.01). Brief mentalization training for the providers did not impact patient satisfaction scores. Conclusions: Our study reveals that depression and anxiety can negatively impact PSQ-18 patient scoring in psychiatric outpatients observed for the first time in a resident clinic. However, this study failed to show that a brief mentalization-based training could improve patient satisfaction scores that were already quite high at baseline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalAnnals of General Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mentalization
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Psychiatry
  • Resident clinic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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