Data from the Manitoba Longitudinal Study on Aging (MLSA) were used to test the hypothesis that self-rated health (SRH) is a predictor of mortality independent of "objective health status" (OHS). Subjects were a random sample of non-institutionalized residents of Manitoba aged 65+ in 1971 (n = 3,128). A single item measure of SRH was obtained during a survey conducted in 1971; a baseline measure of OHS was derived from physician and self-reported conditions and health service utilization data. Occurrence and date of death during the years 1971-1977 were known. Analyses of the data revealed that, controlling for OHS, age, sex, life satisfaction, income and urban/rural residence, the risk of early mortality (1971-1973) and late mortality (1974-1977) for persons whose SRH was poor was 2.92 and 2.77 times that of those whose SRH was excellent. This increased risk of death associated with poor self-rated health was greater than that associated with poor OHS, poor life satisfaction, low income and being male. These findings provide empirical support for the long held, but inadequately substantiated, belief that the way a person views his health is importantly related to subsequent health outcomes.