Graduate physicians face formidable developmental tasks during residency training as they prepare for their professional careers. Adapting to becoming a skilled physician involves assuming and mastering many professional responsibilities for the proper care of patients while taking on many personal obligations such as marriage, parenthood, and financial independence. Adaptation requires physicians to cope successfully with a series of stresses that have been divided into three categories: situational, professional, and personal stresses. Each category is reviewed and both general and specific recommendations are offered to reduce the level of stress. Normal and abnormal responses to the stresses of residency training are described, and guidelines are provided for recognizing the impaired resident early. Recommendations are made for managing the residency program and treating the resident, should he or she become impaired.