This study examines the relationship between coping style, quality of life (QOL) and psychological distress in a sample of patients with leukaemia and lymphoma. Fifty-one consecutive in-patients, day cases and haematology out-patient attenders entered the study and completed a 10-item self-report questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (MACS) and the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQOL). Fifty-one percent of patients reached caseness for moderate distress. Fourteen percent of patients reached caseness for severe distress. Twenty-seven percent of patients were identified as having adjusted poorly to their diagnosis having low scores on the Fighting Spirit subscale of the MAC and high scores on the Hopeless/Helpless subscale. There was a significant association between patients who scored highly on the HADS and dissatisfaction with the information provided. Use of a logistic regression model showed that those patients most likely to be suffering from severe psychological distress were those with a worse coping style, measured by MAC. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.