Diabetes patients are known to have a worse quality of life than individuals without diabetes. They also have an increased risk for depressive symptoms, which may have an additional negative effect on their quality of life. This systematic review summarizes the current knowledge on the association between depressive symptoms and quality of life in individuals with diabetes. A systematic literature search using MEDLINE, Psychinfo, Social SciSearch, SciSearch and EMBASE was conducted from January 1990 until September 2007. We identified studies that compared quality of life between diabetic individuals with and without depressive symptoms. Twenty studies were identified, including eighteen cross-sectional and two longitudinal studies. Quality of life was measured as generic, diabetes specific and domain specific quality of life. All studies reported a negative association between depressive symptoms and at least one aspect of quality of life in people with diabetes. Diabetic individuals with depressive symptoms also had a severely lower diabetes specific quality of life. Generic and domain specific quality of life were found to be mild to moderately lower in the presence of depressive symptoms. Therefore, increased awareness and monitoring for depression is needed within different diabetes care settings.