Research regarding children's concepts of illness (CCI) is needed in order for parents, professionals, and health educators to understand and effectively communicate with both ill and healthy children. To date, most research on CCI has been conducted on White, middle to upper class children. In the current study, 260 school-aged children's understanding of four aspects of physical illness was assessed using structured interviews. Children from lower SES had less sophisticated understanding of causes of illness; SES showed a significant cubic pattern on children's level of understanding of prevention of illness and overall understanding of physical concepts of illness. There were marginally significant differences between ethnicities.