The present study identified psychiatric inpatient (N = 61) and staff (N = 63) perceptions of most and least important nurse caring behaviors using a modified Swedish version of the CARE-Q instrument (Larson, 1981) and compared the results with data from somatic care (von Essen & Sjoden, 1991 a, 1991b). The results demonstrated 13 significant mean between-group differences in the rating of 50 specific CARE-Q behaviors. Two significant mean value differences out of six subscales combining individual items were demonstrated between groups. Psychiatric inpatients considered the cognitive aspect, and somatic inpatients the task-oriented aspect of caring as the most important. Staff, in psychiatric as well as somatic care, considered the emotional aspect of caring as the most important. The results suggest that staff has a relatively invariant, human-oriented perception of caring, irrespective of subdisciplines, while patients' perceptions of caring vary more over specialities. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.