Background: While studies in the ambulatory care setting have found that patients with high level of psychological well-being have high satisfaction with their physicians, no study has evaluated the relationship between psychological well-being and satisfaction with physicians in hospitalized patients. Therefore, we examined the relationship between a patient’s psychological well-being and patient’s satisfaction with physicians during hospitalization.

Methods: Hospitalized patients older than 18 years and who provided consent were asked to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire collected information on patient’s age, gender, and race and included the following two validated tools: Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT) for psychological well-being and TAISCH for measuring satisfaction with physicians in hospitalized patients (TAISCH). Patient satisfaction was further assessed using an internally developed 5-question satisfaction tool. The scores on three tools were rescaled such that the change in satisfaction scores represented percentage change in in BIT score. The effect of psychological well-being on patient satisfaction was examined using mixed linear models to account for correlation in observations due to patients seen by the same physician. All analyses were performed in R 3.1.1 using ‘lme4’ package.

Results: Of the 357 patients, 199 (55%) were females and 47 (13.1%) were African Americans. Mean (SD) age of the patients was 54.5 (19) years. These patients were seen by 122 physicians (range = 1 to 13 patients per physician). In unadjusted analysis, we found a robust and positive association of patient satisfaction with BIT score. A high BIT score correlates with high psychological well-being. After adjusting for patient’s age, sex, and race, mean BIT score remained significantly associated with patient satisfaction on both questionnaires. Each one percent increase in BIT score was associated with 0.26% (95% CI = 0.17% to 0.35%; P < 0.001) increase in TAISCH score and 0.31% (95% CI = 0.19% to 0.42%; P <0.001) increase in internally developed 5-question satisfaction tool.

Conclusions: We found a statistically significant direct association between psychological well-being as measured by BIT score and patient satisfaction with physicians during hospitalization. Our findings suggest that methods to improve patients’ psychological well-being may also improve patient satisfaction with their physicians.