Social support, depressive symptoms, and three methods of coping were assessed in 45 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 24 comparably disabled controls. The PD subjects employed significantly fewer cognitive and behavioral coping strategies compared with the controls. Fewer depressive symptoms were related to increased cognitive coping in PD subjects. Behavioral coping strategies were associated with lesser depression among controls. Avoidance coping methods showed a marginally significant positive association with depressive symptoms in PD subjects. Social support was related to the significant coping predictors in each group, but was not related to depressive symptoms. Although correlational, these results might suggest that active (cognitive and behavioral) coping strategies are superior to avoidance strategies in attenuating the affective distress expected from chronic deteriorative illnesses.