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The present 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 possess greater resources for the gratification of health needs in general, symptoms of mental illness 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 symptoms of physical illness would be more salient and thus better able to explain variance in both mental and physical illness for the disadvantaged. Results of the study indicate 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 are related to previous findings in medical sociology, and suggestions for future research are made.