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RICHARD L.

OLIVER-

A model is proposed which expresses consumer satisfaction as a function


of expectation and expectancy disconfirmation. Satisfaction, in turn, is believed
to influence attitude change and purchase intention. Results from a two-stage
field study support the scheme for consumers and nonconsumers of a flu
inoculation.

A Cognitive Model of the Antecedents and


Consequences of Satisfaction Decisions

A recent wave of interest in research on consutner Though writers do agree that expectations are a
satisfaction has stimulated several thoughtful inter- factor in postpurchase evaluations, viewpoints differ
pretations of the causes and effects of satisfaction on the process of expectancy disconfirmation. Some
cognitions. Reviews of the literature (Day 1977; La- conclude that the latter phenomenon exists imphcitly
Tour and Peat 1979; Olander 1977; Oliver 1977) suggest whenever expectations are paired with disparate per-
that two constructs, performance-specific expectation formance, others view it as a comparative process
and expectancy disconfirmation, play a major role culminating in an immediate satisfaction decision, and
in satisfaction decisions. The purpose of this article still others view it as a distinct cognitive state resulting
is to extend this body of literature in a matiner which from the comparison process and preceding a satisfac-
will permit one to integrate the suggested antecedents tion judgment.
and some hypothesized cognitive consequences into Insight on this issue can be gained from prior
a coherent framework of satisfaction-related concepts. research in the fields of social and apphed psychology.
Almost without exception, reviewers and early re-
Expectation and Disconfirmation Effects searchers in the areas of job, life, self, and patient
Early propositions linking disconfirmed expecta- satisfaction agree that satisfaction is a function of
tions to subsequent consumer satisfaction were ad- an initial standard and some perceived discrepancy
vanced by Engel, KoUat, and Blackwell (1968, p. from the initial reference point (see, variously, An-
512-15) and Howard and Sheth (1969, p. 145-50), drews and Withey 1976; Campbell, Converse, and
although little evidence in the product performance Rodgers 1976; Ilgen 1971; Locke 1969; Locker and
area could be cited to support the seemingly obvious Dunt 1978; Shrauger 1975; Spector 1956; Watts 1968;
conclusion that satisfaction increases as the perfor- Weaver and Brickman 1974.) Although many re-
mance/expectation ratio increases. This view was searchers choose to measure discrepancies objective-
based largely on the results of a seminal laboratory ly, reviewers of the early dissonance studies (e.g..
study by Cardozo (1965). Since that time, further Watts 1968; Weaver and Brickman 1974) were among
experiments in the laboratory (Anderson 1973; Cohen the first to argue that individuals imphcitly make
and Goldberg 1970; Olshavsky and Miller 1972; Olson summary comparative judgments apart from and as
and Do ver 1976, 1979; Woodside 1972) and longitudinal an input to their feelings of satisfaction. This perspec-
surveys in the field (Oliver 1977; Swan 1977) have tive is the one used here.
suggested that the satisfaction decision is more com- The research cited strongly suggests that the effects
plex. of expectation and discrepancy perceptions may be
additive. Specifically, expectations are thought to
create a frame of reference about which one makes
a comparative judgment. Thus, outcomes poorer than
Richard L. Oliver is Associate Professor, Graduate School of expected (a negative disconfirmation) are rated below
Business Administration, Washington University, St. Louis.
this reference point, whereas those better than expect-
460

Journal of Marketing Research


Vol. XVII (November 1980), 460-9
MODEL OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SATISFACTION DECISIONS 461

ed (a positive disconfirmation) are evaluated above effects, larger in magnitude than that of expectation,
this base. were observed in all cases. To date, these studies
Researchers in job satisfaction (e.g., Ilgen 1971; offer encouraging support for an adaptation level
Smith, Kendall, and Hulin 1969) have noted that this interpretation of satisfaction decisions.
additive interpretation is modeled well by Helson's
(1948, 1959) adaptation level theory which posits that Cognitive Postpurchase Consequences
one perceives stimuli only in relation to an adapted Much of the literature on postpurchase satisfaction
standard. The standard is a function of perceptions pertains to the behavioral criteria of complaining and
of the stimulus itself, the context, and psychological repurchase (see Robinson 1979 for review). Develop-
and physiological characteristics of the organism. Once ment of the cognitive ramifications is largely theoreti-
created, the "adaptation level" serves to sustain cal at this point in time, but is well grounded in the
subsequent evaluations in that positive and negative literature on emotional affect (attitude). Generally,
deviations will remain in the general vicinity of one's it is agreed that satisfaction interacts with other
original position. Only large impacts on the adaptation cognitions of an emotional nature (Homans 1961).
level will change the final tone of the subject's evalua- Howard and Sheth (1969, p. 147) recognized this notion
tion. explicitly. In their notation:
As applied to satisfaction decisions, one's level of
expectation about product performance, however
created, can be seen as an adaptation level. Expecta- where:
tions are influenced by the same factors that Helson
(1959) suggested in his discussion of adaptation phenom- A, = prepurchase attitude,
ena, namely (1) the product itself including one's 5,+ , = immediate postpurchase satisfaction, and
prior experience, brand connotations, and symbohc A,^2 revised postpurchase attitude.
elements, (2) the context including the content of The difference, (5,^, - A,), is a cognitive comparison
communications from salespeople and social referents, between anticipated satisfaction (represented by A,)
and (3) individual characteristics including persuasibil- and received satisfaction. It is, in effect, a discon-
ity and perceptual distortion. Postdecision deviations firmation at the more abstract affect level rather than
from the adaptation level are thought to be caused at the more objective attribute level.
by the degree to which the product exceeds, meets,
orfalls short of one's expectations, i.e., positive, zero, The Howard and Sheth (1969) equation can be
or negative disconfirmation. Satisfaction, then, can reinterpreted in light of Fishbein's (1967) work on
be seen as an additive combination of the expectation the components of attitudes and with respect to the
level and the resulting disconfirmation. research cited previously. If one views expectations
as belief probabilities of attribute occurrence, a rec-
A growing number of studies suggest that this ommendation originally proposed by Olson and Dover
paradigm may be useful in the study of consumer (1976), it is readily apparent that these beliefs perform
satisfaction. Data from the laboratory and the field two functions. First, they serve to provide the founda-
have shown that both expectation and disconfirmation tion for attitude formation and, second, they serve
affect postexposure product reactions. Specifically, as an adaptation level for subsequent satisfaction
in investigations where expectations have been ma- decisions. Satisfaction, in turn, can be seen as a
nipulated or measured prior to product exposure, sig- function of the expectation (adaptation) level and
nificant expectation effects have been observed con- perceptions of disconfirmation. In a similar manner,
sistently. Interested readers are referred to Olshavsky the revised postpurchase attitude at t^ can be viewed
and Miller (1972), Anderson (1973), Olson and Dover as a function of the initial attitude at /, and the influence
(1976), OUver (1977), Swan (1977), and Linda and of one's sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Thus:
Oliver (1979).
Investigations demonstrating significant discon- attitude ((,) =/(expectations)
firmation effects include those of Cardozo (1968), satisfaction = /(expectations, disconfirmation)
Cohen and Goldberg (1970), Woodside (1972), and attitude (fj) =/(attitude (t,), satisfaction)
Olson and Dover (1979). Of note are four two-stage The postpurchase model can be expanded further
field studies (Oliver 1977; Swan 1977; Gilly 1979; Linda by including purchase intentions. In fact, a later
and Oliver 1979) where the disconfirmation effect was version of the Howard and Sheth model (Howard 1974)
measured independently of expectation level through explicitly recognizes that satisfaption experiences in-
the use of hierarchical ANOVA and partial regression fluence future purchase intention as well as postpur-
coefficients. The results of each of these studies chase attitude. Most consumer behaviorists would
showed that expectations measured before product agree that a dissatisfying product purchase should
exposure were uncorrelated with subsequent expec- decrease one's inclination to repurchase. If one also
tancy disconfirmation, thus permitting an additive recognizes that the most immediate precursor of be-
interpretation. Moreover, significant disconfirmation havioral intention is attitude (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975),
462 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, NOVEMBER 1980

Figure 1 ed in this survey were measures of behavior, discon-


COGNITIVE MODEL OF THE ANTECEDENTS AND firmation, attitude, and future intention in the event
CONSEQUENCES OF SATISFACTION DECISIONS of another identical flu campaign. One followup re-
quest with a duplicate questionnaire and postage-paid
return envelope was made to stitnulate compliance.
Subjects
Two thousand residents of a south-central city (a
1 % sample) were selected from the telephone directory
by systematic random sampling to receive the ques-
tionnaire used in the study. In addition, 1,000 students
from a major state university in the community were
asked on a random basis to participate in the survey.
Forty-five percent of the contacted student population
and 28% of the residents receiving questionnaires
responded to the first wave of the study. Of these
respondents, 76% of the students and 79% of the
DiSCONFIRHATIDN
PERIOD
community at large returned the second survey. On
the basis of respondent self-reports, 80% of the resi-
dents and 66% of the students elected to receive the
and that prior intention at f, may act as the adaptation flu shot. After deletion of a small number of respon-
level for future intention at t^, two equations can be dents for whom complete data were not available, the
added to those already proposed: samples used in the study consisted of 291 resident
intention (/,) =/(attitude (/,)) and 162 student "vaccinees," and 65 resident and
intention (r^) =/(intention (/,), satisfaction, 86 student "nonvaccinees."
attitude (t,)) Nonresponse bias was examined by comparing the
Figure 1 is a path diagram of the system of equations resident demographic profile with the county census
suggested here. figures. The data showed that the sample contained
a disproportionate number of males, whites, and
Study Objective residents in high income brackets. The first of these
The main purpose of the author's study is to provide findings was thought to derive from the sample frame
a more substantial and simultaneous test of the rela- because head of household telephone listings are likely
tionships among expectation, disconfirmation, satis- to be in the husband's name. The second and third
faction, and the traditional criteria of attitude and reflect interest in and actual response to the flu
purchase intention than has been performed to date. campaign under study. Further elaboration is given
In the conduct of the study, attempts were also made by Oliver and Berger (1979).
to improve certain methodological shortcomings pecu- Measures
liar to much of the prior satisfaction research. The
refinements include use of an actual "purchase" Preexposure variables. Expectations were measured
situation with a lengthy "consumption" period, analy- as the perceived belief probabilities attributed to eight
sis of nonpurchasers, comparison of consumer and consequences of receiving the flu shot in response
student samples, and development of operationaliza- to suggestions by Olson and Dover (1976). Because
tions of expectation, disconfirmation, and satisfaction. it was believed that one's expectations involve not
only the probability of outcome occurrence but also
METHOD the evaluation of that outcome, the overall expectation
measure was viewed as the sum of belief-evaluation
Procedure and Design products (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). The probabilistic
The study is an extension of an earlier field study measure of beliefs about outcomes was obtained by
on a nonrecurring federal flu vaccination program. asking the subjects to scale the possibility of occur-
Details of the first stage, wherein questionnaires rence of each consequence of receiving the flu shot
measuring attitudes and intentions toward the flu on a 5-point scale ranging from "no chance" to
inoculation were mailed to residents of a medium-size "certain." The evaluation component was measured
SMSA before the vaccine became available, are given by asking respondents to evaluate each consequence
by Oliver and Berger (1979). At the officially designat- on a 5-point good-bad scale.
ed end of the flu season, those subjects responding A 9-item semantic differential scale was used to
to the first wave of the study were sent a second obtain a summary measure of one's overall attitude
questionnaire asking for their feelings toward the toward getting the inoculation. The coefficient alpha
federal flu program and flu shots in retrospect. Includ- scale reliability over both samples combined was 0.94.
MODEL OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SATISFACTION DECISIONS 463

A continuous measure of behavioral intention was The satisfaction measure was a 6-item Likert scale
obtained by asking respondents to indicate the constructed for this study. All items were emotional
"chances in 10" that they would get a flu shot on in content (Hunt 1977) and included references to the
an 11-point scale ranging from "no chance" to "cer- respondent's outright satisfaction, regret, happiness,
tain." and general feelings about the decision to receive or
Postexposure variables. Three approaches have not to receive the shot.' The coefficient alpha reliability
been used to operationalize the disconfirmation con- of this scale over all subjects was 0.82; analysis showed
cept. In an historical mode, numerous studies have that no item deletions would improve this value.
measured the objective discrepancy between expecta- Postexposure attitude and intention toward getting a
tions and performance outcomes to arrive at a dif- similar flu shot in the future if it were offered were
ference score. (See, forexample, Foa 1957; Ilgen 1971; measured on scales identical to those used in the
Morris, Crull, and Winter 1976; Spector 1956; Weaver preexposure questionnaire. Finally, inoculation behav-
and Brickman 1974). More recently, others have used ior was obtained in self-report fashion.^
the difference between preexposure and postexposure
ratings with equally favorable results (Madden, Little, Analysis
and Dolich 1979; OUver 1977; Swan 1977). In aU studies A just-identified fully recursive path analysis (Dun-
cited, the difference score was found to be significantly can 1975; Wright 1934) was applied to the four samples
related to postexposure satisfaction or affect scales. (two respondent groups by two inoculation cate-
In other recent work, researchers have attempted gories) to test the theoretical scheme suggested here.
to capture the consumer's summary judgment of The complete system of tested equations, with vari-
overall disconfirmation on a "better than expected- ables arrayed in order of their suggested temporal
worse than expected" scale (Aiello, Czepiel, and precedence, is shown in Table 1. If the variables are
Rosenberg 1977; Linda and Oliver 1979; Oliver 1977; expressed in standard form (Z,), the coefficients (p^.,)
Swan and Trawick 1980; Westbrook 1980). These are directly interpretable as standardized regression
results paralleled and, in some cases, exceeded those (path) coefficients where y and / denote the dependent
using difference scores. and independent variables, respectively.'
For the purpose of the present study, overall better- A complete recursive system was selected for anal-
worse than expected scales were used for the discon- ysis rather than the abbreviated, overidentified system
firmation measures. Individual attribute data were also in Figure 1 for three reasons. First, the path coeffi-
collected by means of a probabilistic disconfirmation cients obtained with a just-identified framework are
scheme which compared prior probabilities with the unique in that only one solution to the estimates is
occurrence or nonoccurrence of predicted states of possible. Second, a test of a fully recursive model
nature. Preliminary results showed that the summary is considered to be a fairly stringent analysis of a
measures displayed a more meaningful relationship temporally ordered system because "troublesome"
to satisfaction. Interested readers are referred to Oliver paths cannot be eliminated apriori. Third, heuristical-
(1980). ly, some evidence attesting to the nature of the
For the subset of respondents who indicated that adaptation level may emerge. Because the three
they had been inoculated, a 2-item overall discon-
firmation scale based on the perceived benefits of
receiving the inoculation and the problems associated 'The six items were:
with it was constructed. These subjects were first asked I am satisfled with my decision to get or not to get a flu
to reflect on the problems encountered with the shot shot.
and to indicate on a 7-point scale whether these If I had it to do all over again, I would feel differently about
the flu shot program.
problems were "much more serious than expected" My choice to get or not to get a flu shot was a wise one.
at the one extreme through "pretty much as expected" I feel bad about my decision concerning the flu shot.
at the midpoint to "much less serious than expected" I think that I did the right thing when I decided to get or
at the other extreme. Subjects were then asked to not to get the flu shot.
I am not happy that I did what I did about the flu shot.
consider the benefits received and, on a similar scale, ^Actual inoculation behavior was obtained from health department
to check whether they were ' 'much less than expected" records and was used to classify respondents for a second set
at the negative extreme to "much greater than expect- of identical analyses. The results were very similar to those reported
ed" at the positive extreme. Both items were summed here. Differences in fmdings were reflected most typically in higher
to form the inoculation group disconfirmation scale. coefficients of determination with the use of actual behavior as
the classification variable. The decision to use self-report data was
The unvaccinated group was asked to indicate on a made on the basis of a high likelihood that many "true" inoculated
similar 7-point item whether they were "much worse respondents were omitted because of recording and nonreport
off than expected" at the one extreme, "as well off errors.
as expected" at the midpoint, or "much better off "Maximum likelihood estimates of the path coefficients were also
than expected" at the other extreme as a result of calculated using LISREL (Joreskog and van Thiilo 1972) with nearly
identical results. The author thanks Richard P. Bagozzi for his
their decision not to get the fiu inoculation. advice and assistance.
464 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, NOVEMBER 1980

Table 1
HYPOTHESIZED RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF
SATISFACTION ARRAYED I N ORDER OF TEMPORAL PRECEDENCE

Variable Structural equations


z, Expectation
z. Attitude (r,) p^fZf + J'32Z2'
Intention (r,)
Z4 Disconfirmation /'41Z, + js^^Zj + /'43Z3
Satisfaction /'5,Z, + ;752Z2 + PijZ, + Pi^Zl
z^ Attitude (j) Pe.Z, + ;'62Z2 + P63Z3 + P64Z4 + PisZ'
z. Intention (t^) ;'7iZ,+,P72Z2 + PT^Z' + p,4Z4 + PvsZs' + p^^Zt,
*A significant coefficient is hypothesized.

preexposure variables remain in subsequent regres- all attitudinal postexposure measures (satisfaction,
sions simultaneously, it is possible that one may attitude, and intention) with the exception of intention
dominate as an anchor for all postpurchase evalua- in the student inoculation sample." Second, no
tions. This information would not be available if the preexposure measure is correlated with disconfirma-
preexposure components were selectively matched tion in any sample. Third, the sequence of postpur-
with their postexposure counterparts. chase events, satisfaction attitude -^ intention,
One major disadvantage of this approach is multi- appears to be supported in both inoculation samples
collinearity. Because the preexposure variables are in that the satisfaction-intention correlation is lower
thought to be related, they may be highly correlated. than the satisfaction-attitude and attitude-intention
Significant degrees of correlation between variables correlations (Blalock 1964). The effect of disconfirma-
may render the path coefficients unstable and subject tion, however, is not unique to satisfaction but appears
to sampling variations. The extent of this problem to affect all postexposure criteria.
is readily observed when results are compared over Tables 2 and 3 show the results obtained when the
the four respondent samples used here. Alternatively, variables are entered into the path analysis in order
similar findings over the sample groups would indicate of suggested temporal precedence. Analysis of the
that the weights are fairly stable despite the inherent inoculation group postexposure data reveals, first, that
multicollinearity among antecedents. disconfirmation is independent of all preexposure
RESULTS
Correlations between variables for the resident and "Variable intercorrelation matrices for both inoculation groups
student inoculation and non-inoculation samples show, over the two samples, not reported here because of space limitations,
first, that all preexposure measures are associated with are available from the author.

Table 2
PATH COEFFICIENTS OBTAINED FROM THE INOCULATION GROUP DATA

Variable Structural equation"


Z,: Expectation

z,. Attitude (/,) .79Z", .24"


.23"
Z3: Intention (/,) .06Z, + .56Z" .35"
.06Z, + .57Z" .36"
Z4: Disconfirmation .05Z, + .O5Z2 - .IOZ3 .01
.02Z, - .15Zj + .IOZ3 .01
Z5: Satisfaction .07Z| + .21Z" + .O4Z3 + .33Z" .19"
.17Z + .I5Z2 + .I4Z3 + .47Z" .35"
Z^: Attitude (<j) .llZ, + .26Z" - .O5Z3 + .22Z" + .45Z" .49"
.20Z" + .O6Z2 - .O9Z3 + .26Z" + .48Z" .49"
Z,: Intention (Z^) -.05Z, 4- .OlZj + .IOZ3 + .O9Z4 + .15Z" + .48"
-.04Z, - .24Z2 + .17Z3 - .OIZ4 + .26Z^ + .43"
"Parameters for the first equation in each pair were obtained from the resident sample (n = 291); those for the second were calculated
from the student sample (n = 162).
"
"p < .05.
MODEL OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SATISFACTION DECISIONS 465

Table 3
PATH COEFFICIENTS OBTAINED FROM THE NON-INOCULATION GROUP DATA

Variable Structural equations'


Z,: Expectation

Zj: Attitude (,) .19"


.54Z" .30"
Zj: Intention ((,) .16Z, + .64Z2 .52"
.06Z, + .65Z" .47"
Z^: Disconfirmation .05Z, - .17Zj + .O6Z3 .02
-.17Z, - .03Zj + .OOZ3 .03
Z,: Satisfaction -.16Z, - .23Z2 - .O4Z3 + .34ZS .27"
.llZ, - .40Z" - .I5Z3 + .32Z" .34"
Z^: Attitude (t^) .07Z, + .IIZ2 - .IOZ3 - .I4Z4 - .55Z" .43"
.18Z, + .4OZ5 - .I9Z3 - .IOZ4 - .42Z5 .53"
Z,: Intention (rj -.lOZ, + .O2Z2 + .33Z3 - .24Z: - .2OZ5 .53"
.05Z, - .23Z2 + .33Z" - .I2Z4 - .25Z5 + .48Z" .53"
"Parameters for the first equation in each pair were obtained from the resident sample (n = 65); those for the second were calculated
from the student sample (n = 86).
> < .01.
'p < .05.

measures and thus may be considered exogenous to by prior intention in accord with the theoretical dis-
the system. Satisfaction, in turn, is a function of cussion. The same equation also yields a negative
disconfirmation and a linear combination of preexpo- preexposure attitude coefficient, best explained by
sure variables. Attitude appears to be the primary suppressor effects (see Darlington 1968).
determinant of adaptation level in the resident sample, The postexposure results on the non-inoculation
whereas the expectation measure receives the highest group closely resemble those obtained with the vac-
coefficient in the student sample. The disconfirmation cinated group. Specifically, disconfirmation is unrelat-
measure, however, appears to produce the greatest ed to any of the expectation variables, whereas satis-
impact on satisfaction in both cases. faction is significantly related to disconfirmation in
Analysis of postusage attitude in the inoculation both samples and to preexposure attitude in the student
group reveals that satisfaction is the primary deter- sample. (The negative coefficient is due to the direction
minant, as hypothesized, and that disconfirmation also of scaling on the attitude measure.) The attitude
has significant impacts in both samples. Coefficients coefficient in the resident sample is greater than 0.2
obtained with the preexposure expectation and attitude in magnitude but does not attain significance because
variables are similar to those found in the regressions of the small sample size involved.
on satisfaction. Analysis of the intention criterion for As hypothesized, postusage attitude is a function
this same group suggests that both postexposure atti- of satisfaction in both non-inoculated samples. In the
tude and satisfaction affect future purchase probabil- student group one's prior attitude appears to provide
ities, as hypothesized. Surprisingly, no preexposure an adaptation level whereas in the resident group no
variable, including intention, appears to have any preexposure measure yields a significant coefficient.
impact in the resident group. Among the student Analysis of the postexposure intention variable shows
sample, however, postusage intention is influenced that postusage attitude and preexposure intention

Table 4
SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT COEFFICIENTS OVER TWO SAMPLES AND USAGE GROUPS

Dependent Users Non-users


variable Residents Students Residents Students
Attitude (<,) Exp Exp Exp Exp
Intention (<,) Att, Att, Att, Att,
Disconfirmation
Satisfaction Att,, Disc Exp, Disc Disc Att,, Disc
Attitude (/j) Att I, Disc, Sat Exp, Disc, Sat Sat Att,, Sat
Intention (tj) Sat, Att^ Int., Sat, Attj Int,, Disc, Att^ Int I, Sat, Att^
(Att, as suppressor)
466 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, NOVEMBER 1980

emerge as antecedents in both non-inoculation sam- the same instrument as satisfaction, one must re-
ples. Disconfirmation also produces a significant member that disconfirmation does not occur until after
coefficient in the resident group. product exposure and that subsequent cognitive reac-
Table 4 summarizes the findings over the two tions probably follow soon thereafter. Until a three-
samples and two usage groups. The findings of interest stage study is conducted whereby satisfaction is mea-
to this study pertain to the four postexposure variables. sured at a point in time subsequent to and separate
The first, disconfirmation, is unrelated to any from the disconfirmation assessment, one must con-
preexposure variable in all cases. Satisfaction is related clude that the disconfirmation effect is at least as
to disconfirmation in all samples and to either potent as the effect attributed to expectation.
preexposure attitude or the expectation measure in Moreover, the path-analytic results suggest that
three of four sample groups. Of these, attitude appears disconfirmation is well positioned in the proposed
to serve the adaptation level function in two of the theoretical satisfaction framework in that the most
three. immediate impact appears to be on satisfaction, as
Postexposure attitude is a function of satisfaction hypothesized. The effect of disconfirmation on later
in all sample groups and a function of disconfirmation stages of the model (postexposure attitude and inten-
in the inoculation groups. In accord with the regression tion), however, does not appear to have the same
results found with the satisfaction criterion, preexpo- pervasive influence as the adaptation level variables
sure attitude apparently was used as an adaptation in a multivariate perspective.
level for postexposure attitude in two of three cases Implications for a model of consumer satisfac-
where a preexposure variable yields a significant tion. The data reported here provide support for an
coefficient. Finally, postexposure intention is related integrated model of consumer satisfaction which
to one's revised attitude in all cases, to satisfaction dovetails well with the more general attitude models
in three, and to preexposure intentionthe apparent such as that suggested by Fishbein (1967). Specifically,
adaptation levelin three. On balance, the theoretical satisfaction appears to mediate changes between
scheme in Figure 1 appears to be a fairly accurate preexposure and postexposure attitudinal components.
representation of the cognitive processes used in the The nature of the mediatorial process is predicted
satisfaction decisions investigated here. by Helson's (1948) adaptation level theory whereby
preexposure cognitions serve as the consumer's
DISCUSSION adaptation level. A cognitive comparison between the
Despite the fact that this study differs in many adaptation level and actual product experience (dis-
respects from prior investigations, the findings support confirmation) determines the manner in which subse-
the results of earlier studies on the expectation effect quent evaluations will deviate from the adaptation
and recent interpretations of the disconfirmation effect level. These evaluations then become a revised
(Ohver 1977; Swan 1977; Weaver and Brickman 1974). adaptation level used in future product performance
Specifically, postusage ratings of satisfaction appear evaluations.
to be a function of a linear combination of an adaptation Suggested consequences of satisfaction decisions,
level component (expectations or prior attitude) and namely revised attitude and intention in that respective
disconfirmation. order, are refiected well by the results shown in Tables
Two items are worthy of note in relation to the 2 and 3. In fact, the satisfaction postattitude
findings. First, the adaptation level effect is remarka- postintention sequence is well supported in all samples.
bly resistant to extinction. In prior studies, expectation The data show that the coefficients attributed to
creation, product exposure, and postexposure evalua- satisfaction in the attitude regressions are much greater
tion all occurred in the span of a very short time. in magnitude than the other explanatory variables in
When small time frames are used, one could argue the model. An analogous pattern of results holds for
that primacy or recall effects are operating. In the the regression of intention on attitude and its antece-
present study, however, the seven-month time span dents. Although more concrete behavioral criteria such
between the pretest and posttest makes recall a less as complaining behavior and repeat purchasing were
likely explanation for the obtained findings. Apparent- not investigated, the cognitive postexposure response
ly, the underlying beliefs which give rise to expectation pattern appears to support current theoretical views
formation are internalized to the extent that the sum- of satisfaction effects (Andreasen 1977; Day 1977).
mary expressions of attitude or, perhaps, intention Data from the unvaccinated respondents provide
persist over some unspecified period of time. encouraging support for the satisfaction model in two
The second observation one might make about the ways. First, the two nonuser groups can be viewed
results in Tables 2 and 3 concerns the large discon- as validation samples in that independent assessments
firmation effect evident in all regressions on satisfac- of the parameter coefficients are provided. Generally,
tion. Though it is conceivable that the significant the results show that the magnitudes and pattern of
disconfirmation coefficients are due to method coefficients are in accord with those obtained on the
variance in that disconfirmation was measured with user groups. Second, results from the non-inoculation
MODEL OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SATISFACTION DECISIONS 467

groups suggest that the the proposed framework of demographic features indicated that the resulting bias
cognitive processes operates for satisfaction decisions may be toward higher income white respondent cate-
in a more general mode. Apparently consumers re- gories. It should be noted, however, that parallel
spond to the ramifications of nonpurchasing (e.g., analyses of the student sample suggest that the resi-
opportunity costs, vicarious relief and regret) in the dents may be representative of the population on a
same manner as they do for the purchase itself. correlational basis. For example, no consistent dif-
Methodological issues and limitations. Although the ferences were observed between the regression results
fmdings reported here are consistent with a number obtained with the student and community samples.
of proposed theoretical frameworks and with the Individual readers must decide, however, whether this
results and conclusions of prior studies, two method- fact is sufficient evidence for the representativeness
ological issues require elaboration. The first and most of the resident sample.
problematical pertains to the measures used for the
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