This article presents a selection of theories that examine the socio-psychological factors that affect the patient’s evaluation of the health service. The selection of theories is based on searches in Medline, Cinahl and Sociological abstract. One of the main criticisms of patient satisfaction research has been the insufficient theoretical grounding of the concept of patient satisfaction, and also the lack of research on how the patients carry out evaluations of the health service. The theories presented in this article take the consequence of this critique and try to contribute to a theoretical grounding on how patients evaluate health service. The article distinguishes between theories which relate to the concept of patient satisfaction, and theories which claim that the concept does not capture the complexity of patient’s experiences and evaluations. It further discusses the differences between these two types of theories and the methodological implications they suggest, partly in light of Norwegian data.