Etymologically, the word "satisfy" means, "make enough". Satisfaction is a complicated multi-dimensional concept and to date there is little agreement about the factor structure of satisfaction measures. Although satisfaction can mean different things to different people, there is general agreement that satisfaction is an attitude about a service, a product, a service provider or an individual's health status.
From a psychological perspective, satisfaction is a subjective reaction, that is, a state of pleasantness, well being or gratification (Chaplin, 1985). According to Linder-Pelz (1982), satisfaction is a positive attitude; it is an affect that is the result of social psychological determinants including perceptions, evaluations and comparisons. Based on the theory and the research conducted in rehabilitation, Simon and Patrick (1997) define consumer satisfaction as a level of pleasantness, well being or gratification felt in reaction to a total specified experience or its components. In his comprehensive review article on patient satisfaction with rehabilitation services, Keith (1998) explains that satisfaction is comprised of affective components that reflect positive or negative feelings as well as cognitive components that are concerned with what is important and how it is evaluated. He maintains that if the factors that influence a patient's opinion cannot be identified then the satisfaction measures have little value. Furthermore, Keith (1998) argues that unless there is some uniformity in satisfaction questionnaires and instruments, it will not be possible to compare levels of satisfaction across settings and programs.
As shown in Figure 1, the relations between variables involved in the experience of assistive technology can be considered and represented linearly. The satisfaction is conceived as a reaction to the service delivery (dependent variable) and as a trigger to a subsequent action or behaviour (independent variable). In the case of assistive technology, as with other phenomenon, the construct is broken down into several dimensions that correspond to specific aspects of user satisfaction. The evaluation of these dimensions involves a cognitive process in which there is some degree of subjectivity involved. In this context, satisfaction as defined in the QUEST is based on a person's critical evaluation of specific characteristics of the technology. The person's expectations, perceptions, attitudes and personal values affect this assessment.
Figure 1: Satisfaction with assistive technology model
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