The patient-administered Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) is widely used in rheumatology studies. Another health quality assessment technique commonly used for other non-rheumatological conditions is the 'Short Form 36' (SF36). This has questions designed to assess eight aspects of health ranging from physical limitations to general perceptions of vitality and mental well-being. This study presents information on the health status of 137 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) assessed by both the SF36 and HAQ. Summary statistics are given for the elements of the SF36 according to age, gender, disease measures of RA and the presence of co-morbidity. There were significant associations between the physical functioning score of the SF36 and the HAQ score. with other measures of disease activity and severity, and with co-morbidity, although there was considerable inter-patient variability. These findings suggest that future applications of health status questionnaires are possible.