Tested the buffering model of social support among 158 adults with diabetes. We predicted that, among patients with higher levels of illness-related impairment, adequate social support would act as a buffer against depression. Measures included the Beck Depression Inventory; the Sickness Impact Profile; and an assessment of the adequacy of social support to enable the patient to deal with illness-related tasks, domestic chores, financial responsibilities, and emotional needs. Depressive symptoms correlated positively with functional impairment (r = .58, p less than .001) and negatively with the adequacy of social support (r = -.31, p less than .001). In addition, social support moderated depression in the face of greater impairment such that, among patients who reported the most illness-related functional disabilities, adequate support provided a relative protection from depression. The findings suggest that individuals with inadequate support are most at risk to become depressed when disability related to illness increases.