The structural relations between patient experiences with information provided by hospital staff, coping behaviour and changes in self-rated health were studied in a cohort of people with chronic illness (n = 556) over a period of 2 years. A structural equation approach was applied to model cross-sectional and longitudinal effects. Positive experiences with information were cross-sectionally but not longitudinally associated with improved self-rated health. Patient experiences with information are not related to avoidance coping, but positive experiences contribute to more frequent use of supportant coping. The findings in the present study indicate that measures of patient experiences with information are not merely a reflection of patients' health or coping behaviour. More theoretical work is required to describe the relationships between different patient reported outcomes. The insight into mechanisms underlying changes in physical and mental health in chronic illness could be further improved by evaluating the effects of specific educational and psychosocial interventions in a longitudinal design.