In the study reported here 55 spouses of patients living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) were investigated with respect to coping strategies and health-related quality of life. Findings from the study were compared to two random samples of the Swedish general population (n = 454, and n = 1200). The study design was correlational and comparative. Coping was measured by the Jalowiec Coping Scale, and quality of life (QoL) by the Swedish Health-Related Quality of Life Survey (SWED-QUAL). Data were analysed using a number of statistical tests including Pearson's product moment correlations, Student's t-test and two way ANOVAs. The combined sample of spouses used significantly more optimistic and palliative coping than the general population, but less confrontative, self-reliant, evasive and emotive coping. In the study fatalistic, evasive and emotive coping was associated with low perceived efficiency in handling various aspects of the partners' situation. The male spouses used significantly less optimistic, supportive and palliative coping than did the female spouses. The spouses of transplant patients had better overall quality of life than the continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis spouse groups, most likely due to the lower age of the former group. The study findings suggest that emotive, evasive and fatalistic coping are less than optimal ways to deal with problems occasioned by the partner's treatment.