This paper describes the development of an instrument to measure explanations for illness among Cambodian patients Despite the need to understand patients' explanations for illness, few culture-relevant typologies of illness exist Murdock's typology was used in pre-testing with a group of Cambodian patients A 23-item Schedule was refined to measure patient explanatory models of illness The schedule was based on Murdock's list of possible causes of illness with several culturally specific categories added to accommodate Cambodian health beliefs. Items measure both natural and supernatural (mystical, animistic, and magical) explanations in culturally appropriate terms. The schedule was translated and back-translated by two independent Cambodian consultants Individual items were designed to be culturally specific. The schedule was piloted with a range of Cambodian patients presenting to a Cambodian family physician In addition to linguistic ambiguities, several conceptual problems arose which are discussed. The schedule aids understanding of Cambodian refugee patients and could be applied clinically.