Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often report anxiety, depression and poor health status, not least if they experience repeated hospitalisations due to acute exacerbations. The aim of this study was to analyse the interrelationships between health status, anxiety, depression and physical status in COPD patients being discharged after hospitalisation. This was a prospective study of 416 patients in five university hospitals in each of the Nordic countries. Data included demographic information, lung function and co-morbidity. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were applied to all patients. Both anxiety and depression were common among these patients. Anxiety was more common in women than in men (47% vs. 34%, P=0.009) and current smokers had a higher prevalence of both anxiety (54% vs. 37%) and depression (43% vs. 23%) than non-smokers (P<0.01). In general, the studied COPD patients had poor health status, especially those with anxiety, depression or both. Psychological status was independently related to all dimensions of SGRQ. Higher GOLD stages were significantly associated with increasing impairment in health status. In conclusion this multicentre study showed that anxiety and depression are common in patients with COPD, and, furthermore, that patients with psychological disorders have poor health status. Screening for depression and anxiety may help to identify patients with poor quality of life and an urgent need for intervention in order to improve their health status.