The relationships between psychosocial adjustment and subsequent glycaemic control were prospectively examined in forty-three adult patients during the first 2 yr after onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Decreasing depression was the single psychosocial parameter that changed over time. No correlations were found between the decrease in HbA1c levels and psychological variables at 8- and 16-month follow-ups. Global and specific coping features such as high control attitude, low coping anxiety and low emotional attribution correlated significantly with the decrease in HbA1c levels at the 2-yr follow-up, whereas stressful life events, depression, state-trait anxiety did not correlate. In a regression analysis coping explained 22% variance of the 2 yr decrease in HbA1c levels. We conclude that coping is a better predictor for metabolic control than emotional adaptation and life events. Metabolic control might deteriorate with prolonged stage of the disease being a first sign for psychophysiological coping exhaustion.