End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a chronic, life-threatening condition afflicting over 300,000 Americans. Patient nonadherence and psychological distress are highly prevalent among ESRD patients, and both have been found to contribute to greater morbidity and earlier mortality in this population. A range of factors have been examined as potential determinants of adherence and adjustment. Evidence suggests that adherence and adjustment are maximized when a patient's preferred style of coping is consistent with the contextual features or demands of the renal intervention the patient is undergoing. Challenges for future clinical research include refining methodologies for the assessment of depression and adherence, more clearly evaluating the efficacy of psychological interventions, and clarifying the role that depression and social support play in influencing patient mortality.