A heterogeneous group of 146 patients with chronic bronchitis and emphysema were asked to rate the frequency with which 89 symptoms and experiences occurred during their breathing difficulties. Normative values and the reported frequency of occurrence for the 11 symptom categories are presented. As expected, symptoms of dyspnea were the most frequently reported during breathing difficulties. In decreasing order, symptoms of dyspnea were followed by symptoms of fatigue, sleep disturbance, congestion, irritability, anxiety, decathexis, helplessness-hopelessness, poor memory, alienation. Separation of the patients into subgroups revealed that women reported more anxiety and helplessness-hopelessness than men. Younger patients reported more irritability and anxiety than older patients. Patients with mixed disease reported more dyspnea than those with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, although patients with emphysema reported more loss of interest in life than patients with chronic bronchitis. Self-ratings of functional incapacitation were clearly related to the symptom reports. Relationships among the symptom categories were discussed, as was the potential usefulness of symptom patterns in exploring coping styles in respiratory disease.