First Advisor

Matthew Carlson

Date of Publication

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Patient activation, Demographics, Patient experience, Patient satisfaction -- Evaluation, Patients -- Social conditions, Patients -- Economic conditions, Health attitudes -- Sociological aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 72 p.)


This study focuses on the association between patient characteristics, which include both demographic and contextual factors, and patients' experiences with health care. The pre-existing literature provides rich information about patients' various demographics related to patient experience. Despite the abundance of empirical evidence showing that patients' demographics do affect how they perceive their health care. However, there is little to no empirical knowledge explaining the significance of such factors. As the existing literature points out the need for taking into contextual factors such as patient's beliefs, attitudes, skills that are pertinent to dealing with health care, my study proposes patient activation as such a contextual factor that explains the association between patient demographics and patient experience. Findings suggest that patient activation is a strong predictor of two patient experience measures: patients' rating of doctor-patient communication and their self-reported difficulties in getting needed care. However, it is also observed that the mediating effects of patient activation vary by the two dimensions of patient experiences. Though this study demonstrates that promoting patient activation may be able to normalize how patients report the quality of doctor-patient interaction, further research is needed to address access to care issues.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Sociology

Persistent Identifier