Measures of Consumer Satisfaction in Social Welfare and Behavioral Health: A Systematic Review

Mark W. Fraser, Shiyou Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article reviews the origins, conceptual bases, psychometric properties, and limitations of consumer satisfaction measures in social welfare and behavioral health. Based on a systematic review of research reports published between 2003 and 2013, we identify 58 consumer satisfaction measures. On average, these measures have acceptable reliability (mean Cronbach’s α =.85). However, the research on the concurrent and predictive validity of consumer satisfaction is inconclusive. We identify the following three core aspects of consumer satisfaction: (a) satisfaction with alternative elements of service, (b) promotion or recommendation of a program based on a recent service experience, and (c) subjective appraisal of change or problem resolution related to participation in a service. Attrition bias, reactivity, and confounding of ratings with the image of service providers complicate and condition the interpretation of consumer satisfaction as an outcome measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-776
Number of pages15
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • client satisfaction
  • consumer satisfaction
  • evaluation
  • net promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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