The current recognition of the importance of perceived health status as a predictor of need for, and utilisation of, health services has led to attempts to produce indicators which assess subjective rather than objective health problems. The development of the Nottingham Health Profile is described, together with a study which tested the validity of the instrument on four groups of elderly people differing in health status. The results showed that the profile was capable of discriminating between groups differing in terms of diagnosed chronic illness, number of consultations at primary care level, and physiological fitness. Age, sex, and marital status were not significant overall in affecting scores. In these elderly subjects, perceived health status accorded well with objective health status. Further tests of the profile are now taking place on younger groups of subjects.
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