Studies of dyspepsia show a 1% to 2% prevalence in adults, and 25% to 40% of these patients do not have a physical reason for their symptoms. These findings prompted us to do a retrospective follow-up study of 390 patients having motility studies for chest pain and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms; 278 (71%) responded. Patients were asked to complete a self-rating symptom questionnaire regarding current GI symptoms and current symptoms of anxiety, panic, and depression; they were also asked to complete the Brief Symptom Inventory. Two groups were compared--those with known heart disease and those without heart disease. Substantial numbers of patients in both groups satisfied criteria for generalized anxiety disorders (> 70%), panic disorder (> 30%), and major depression (> 35%). GI symptoms compatible with nonulcer dyspepsia were strongly associated with a psychiatric diagnosis. Our data suggest that anxiety and depressive states are strongly associated with dyspepsia and other GI symptoms not caused by ulcer disease.