Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Windham, Gerald O.

Committee Member

Loftin, Marion T.

Committee Member

Bettersworth, John K.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


The objective of this study was to describe hospital-community relations in Rural County, Mississippi and to discover those factors which were related to the choice of a hospital by the respondents. Data for the study came largely from personal interviews with 150 rural white housewives. Additional data were obtained from interviews with the physicians, hospital administrator, board or trustees, and hospital auxiliary.

The study began with a description of the hospital situation in the county, this included the acceptance of the county hospital by the community, and the satisfaction expressed concerning the services of the hospital.

The major part of the thesis involved an effort to determine the factors which were related to the choice of one of two hospitals in the community, although persons who would choose a hospital outside the county were given consideration. To discover these factors, both quantitative and nonquantitative variables were tested to discover their relation to the choice made by the respondents.

The findings revealed that those persons who had had contact with the county hospital, either through personal use or through some member of the family, ranked high on the acceptance index. Those persons who had this contact with the county hospital were generally highly satisfied with its services.

It was also found that choice of a hospital could not satisfactorally be accounted for by the objective characteristics of the respondents. It was found that four nonquantitative factors were highly related to the choice of a hospital. These were: (1) loyalty to the physician, (2) past experience with the hospital, (3) the better facilities of a hospital, and (4) the recommendation of a physician.

It was concluded that hospital-community relations between the county hospital and the rural areas of the county were fairly weak. This was due to a later start of the county hospital, and also because of the great amount of loyalty to the physicians of the older hospital.