Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Philip Brenner

Second Advisor

Cinzia Solari

Third Advisor

Reef Youngreen, Laura Hayman


Patient satisfaction is a pivotal component of effective patient care delivery, linked to better outcomes and quality of life. Unfortunately, current patient satisfaction surveys do not always accurately measure the patient experience. Using identity theory, this mixed methods study sought to understand how a patient’s identities affect satisfaction Quantitative findings show that greater patient identity salience and prominence leads to higher satisfaction. Staff recognizing a patient’s other salient identities also increases satisfaction. Qualitative findings show that hospitalized patients appreciate getting information, feeling safe, staff attentiveness, and verification of other salient identities. Post-hospitalization the patient identity was still very prominent. This was linked to identity commitment via connections on an online support group. Patients liked feeling that they were on a shared journey, could help others and be an inspiration. The study also addressed the role of context in determining the likelihood a patient will tell others about their diagnosis (identity salience). Who the conversational partner is, why they might tell others, and visual cues associated with the diagnosis were themes. Findings show identity theory has a place in patient satisfaction research. It also adds to emergent research on the value of context in identity salience measures.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global ( or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users