In this study we examined the relationship between cognitive ability and Negative Affectivity (NA) (measured as cognitive and behavioral aspects of anxiety) on the one hand, and somatic complaints, symptom attribution (i.e. subjective evaluation of psychological vs somatic symptom causes), perceived daily stress/mood, and disciplinary problems on the other hand, in a sample of military recruits. As expected, cognitive and behavioral anxiety correlated with measures of somatic complaints and with perceived stress/negative mood in the daily service, as well as with symptom attribution. General ability correlated negatively with three of the five somatic complaint scales as well as with presence of disciplinary problems after controlling for NA. However, the effect of the ability factor on these dependent variables was very weak and difficult to interpret. On the whole, cognitive ability does not seem to be an interesting variable in research on the NA-somatic complaints relationship, at least as conceptualized on the trait level. Thus, cognitive ability appears to be of less importance as an explanatory in theories of symptom perception and symptom attribution.