This study was designed to test the High Risk Model of Threat Perception in a family practice population. Predisposing, triggering, and buffering factors were assessed in 165 patients using psychological inventories. The relationship between these factors and self-reported symptoms, diagnosed chronic problems, and utilization was assessed. Negative affect and number and intensity of life events increased the risk for chronic illness and reported symptoms, while social support and approach style of coping decreased the apparent risk. The numbers of encounters and telephone calls to the office, obtained from the office database, were statistically correlated with negative affect and inversely with social support. The regression analysis predicted 27% of the variance in reported symptoms with negative affect, life events, and avoidance coping as significant predictors. Only 8% and 16% of the variance of telephone calls and office visits, respectively, could be predicted with a similar regression model. These results emphasize the importance of psychosocial factors in medical illness. Routine assessment of psychosocial risk factors in family practice patients is suggested.