Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Earl D. Honeycutt, Jr.

Committee Member

Edward Markowski


Although consumers find it difficult to evaluate the quality of healthcare services in general and dental services in particular, they do make such evaluations. The most widely accepted measurement scale for service quality is SERVQUAL (Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry 1988). A more parsimonious alternative to SERVQUAL, SERVPERF, has also been developed (Cronin and Taylor 1992). Previous research comparing these two scales in the setting of adult patients of general dentists concluded that SERVPERF accounts for significantly more of the variance in perceived service quality than does SERVQUAL (McAlexander, Kaldenberg and Koenig 1994). This dissertation extends this line of research to the perceived service quality of dental specialists who treat predominately adult patients: prosthodontists, periodontists and endodontists.

Patients' expectations and importance scores were obtained prior to treatment, and their perception scores and demographics were measured after treatment, thus eliminating a possible confounding effect present in previous research.

The data were analyzed using factor analysis, correlation analysis, and ANOVA. As hypothesized, the five factor structure of SERVQUAL was not found, and there was no statistically significant difference in overall perceived service quality score for the three specialties, allowing them to be grouped together for further analysis. Unexpectedly, SERVPERF was not a better measure of overall service quality than was SERVQUAL


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