Health status encompasses not only physical aspects, but also psychological and social aspects. A multidimensional health status questionnaire was used in 69 Dutch patients with rheumatoid arthritis to assess their physical, psychological and social well being. The same day clinical and laboratory data were recorded. The health status questionnaire provided additional information to clinical and laboratory findings. The various clinical and laboratory measures of disease activity reflect aspects other than the self-reported measure of physical well being. As such they are not interchangeable. Furthermore clinical and laboratory measures of physical well being appeared to be unrelated with psychological and social measures. In contrast, the patients' self-report of physical well being was related only with depressive mood and to some extent with anxiety.