Personality characteristics of health care satisfaction survey non-respondents

Thomas G. Mcleod, Brian A. Costello, Robert C. Colligan, Ross A. Dierkhising, Timothy J. Beebe, Kenneth P. Offord, G. Richard Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Patient satisfaction surveys are increasingly used to assess the quality of health care delivery. Unfortunately, survey non-response may compromise generalizability (and inferential value). Although prior studies demonstrate an association between patient socio-demographic variables and response rate, relatively little information is available linking personality factors to non-response. This paper's purpose is to define outpatient satisfaction survey non-responder personality characteristics. Design/methodology/approach: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory profiles of patients who completed an outpatient satisfaction survey were compared with non-responder profiles. Multivariate analysis was used to adjust for demographic and personality covariates. The study sample included 1,862 medical outpatients who were sent a satisfaction survey and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory results on record at this institution. Of these, 1,255 were survey responders and 607 were non-responders. Findings: Scores on three Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory scales were significantly correlated with non-response: higher scores on scales 4 - Psychopathic deviate (Pd) and 8 - Schizophrenia (Sc) predicted an increased likelihood of non-response (odds ratio [OR], 1.02; p # 0:05 for both), and higher scores on 7 - Psychasthenia (Pt) were associated with a decreased likelihood of non-response (OR, 0.98; p ≤ 0:01). Originality/value: Prior investigations demonstrate an association between patient socio-demographic factors and survey non-response. This paper uniquely highlights patient personality characteristics' contribution to non-response. This information is an important consideration for patient satisfaction survey design, administration and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 27 2009


  • Health services
  • Patient care
  • Quality assessment
  • Surveys
  • United States of America


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