OBJECTIVES To determine the feasibility and practicality of measuring general health status (GHS) in an outpatient peritoneal dialysis population. To determine whether GSH correlated intuitively with biochemical, socio-demographic and co-morbidity measurements. DESIGN The Medical Outcomes Study 20-item short form was administered on a voluntary basis in the outpatient setting. Demographic and current biochemical data were extracted from the medical record. The effects of the socio-demographic, biochemical and physiologic variables on the six subscales of GHS generated by the questionnaire were estimated using multivariate linear regression analysis resulting in the development of six separate models. SETTING Peritoneal dialysis program of a University Hospital. PATIENTS Sixty stable patients on home peritoneal dialysis completed the GHS questionnaire during regularly scheduled outpatient visits. Ages ranged from 13 to 81 years. The study group included 14 diabetics (23%). RESULTS Administering the questionnaire caused no logistical difficulties in the outpatient setting. Regression models for predicting GHS were both significant and intuitively correct. The presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus (p = 0.002; Social Subscale) and peripheral vascular disease (p = 0.016: General Health Subscale) had the most significant negative impact on GHS. An increased length of time on dialysis was associated with a higher GHS (p = 0.002; Physical Subscale). CONCLUSION General Health Status questionnaires can be readily administered to peritoneal dialysis patients in the outpatient setting. They have face validity as a measurement of wellness and functioning. The longitudinal use of such instruments in conjunction with clinical and laboratory findings may identify both medical and non-medical factors impacting on our peritoneal dialysis population.