Osgood's semantic differential technique was used to explore differences between normal children and children with rapidly remitting or steroid-dependent asthma. Each subject rated four concepts: me, mother, father, and asthma (or illness for the normal subjects). Children with rapidly remitting asthma (compared to the normal children) had more differences and more reversals of direction in their judgments of pairs than did steroid-dependent subjects. Both the normal children and the children with steroid-dependent asthma seem to have a healthier perception of their fathers than do the children with rapidly remitting asthma. Differences between the asthmatic subgroups suggest that the total asthmatic population is not homogeneous, and treatment should be handled accordingly. Asthma in the rapidly remitting group may be a learned defensive technique, whereas in the steroid-dependent group it may be more physiologically based.