This study was undertaken to assess whether psychiatric patients respond more adversely to reading their own records than non-psychiatric patients. Seventy-three psychiatric out-patients and 84 out-patients with diabetes were posted their main clinical summary with a questionnaire about it. For seven of the eight questions, more than 70% of both patient groups gave favourable ratings. However, the psychiatric patients gave significantly less favourable responses than the patients with diabetes on five of the eight questions. Fourteen of 73 (19%) psychiatric patients were upset by reading the clinical summary about themselves compared with four of 84 (5%) patients with diabetes.