The Duke Health Profile (DUKE) is a 17-item generic self-report instrument containing six health measures (physical, mental, social, general, perceived health, and self-esteem), and four dysfunction measures (anxiety, depression, pain, and disability). Items were derived from the 63-item Duke-UNC Health Profile, based upon face validity and item-remainder correlations. The study population included 683 primary care adult patients. Reliability was supported by Cronbach's alphas (0.55 to 0.78) and test-retest correlations (0.30 to 0.78). Convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated by score correlations between the DUKE and the Sickness Impact Profile, the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. Clinical validity was supported by differences between the health scores of patients with clinically different health problems. Patients with painful physical problems had a DUKE physical health mean score of 58.1, while patients with only health maintenance problems had a mean score of 83.9 (scale: 0.0 = poorest health and 100.0 = best health). Patients with mental health problems had a DUKE mental health mean score of 49.2, in contrast to 75.7 for patients with painful physical problems and 79.2 for those with health maintenance. The DUKE is presented as a brief technique for measuring health as an outcome of medical intervention and health promotion.