This research tested the hypothesis that the experience of health is hierarchically organized such that gratification of physical health needs must precede gratification of mental health needs. It was reasoned that because the nondisadvantaged have possessed greater resources for the gratification of health needs in general, mental health symptoms would be more salient for this group and thus better able to explain variance in both mental and physical illness. On the other hand, it was reasoned that physical health symptoms would be more salient and thus better able to explain variance in both mental and physical illness for the disadvantaged. The results of the study indicated income group differences in patterns of relationships among health variables, supporting the hypothesis and suggesting important differences in the validity of health measures across income groups. The results were related to existing findings in medical sociology and suggestions for the direction of future research were made. 34 pp. Ref.