Until recent years, the research on caregivers of dependent dwelling elder subjects has dealt with the negative aspects of caregiving (e.g. depression, anxiety, anger). Recently, however, the positive aspects of caregiving have received considerable attention, although it is difficult to define these characteristics. The aim of this study is to determine some factors which can be seen as predictors of the positive aspects experienced by caregivers. We have carried out a cross-sectional study on 111 informal caregivers of dependent elderly patients who were assessed by a semi-structured interview and by standardised questionnaires. The Caregiving Satisfaction Scale was used as the main outcome measure. Caregivers experienced high levels of caregiving satisfaction (mean +/- S.D. = 22.38+/-5.39). In most cases, caring for elderly and dependent relatives had a positive impact on caregivers. Multiple regression analyses revealed that satisfaction was associated with better previous affectionate relationships between the caregivers and the dependents, with being caregiver by own initiative, with maintaining leisure time, with less use of venting emotions, and with caregiver not working out of home. These findings suggest that the positive aspects of caregiving are mainly related to specific characteristics of the caregivers. Furthermore, caregiving satisfaction was not related to aspects of the stressors.