This study compares the responses of a sample of Americans in Illinois and West Germans in North-Rhine Westphalia on the basis of symptom perception, symptom experience, physician utilization and health-locus-of-control. The hypothesis that as socioeconomic status increases, the more likely the individual is to manifest and behavior favorable toward self-control and acceptance of personal responsibility in health care matters was tested. The hypothesis was supported by the American data, but not the West German. Possible trends in West German society accounting for a significant lack of socioeconomic variance in illness behavior are discussed. © 1989.