The present study retrospectively examines the role of stressful life events in the onset of vitiligo in adults. A matched clinical sample of patients with other forms of disfigurement or skin disease (dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa and naevi, not thought to be associated with stress) served as a control group. Newly diagnosed patients and matched controls were thus asked to complete the 12-month version of the Schedule of Recent Experience, a questionnaire which measures the frequency and number of stressful life events occurring over a specified period. The results suggest that such patients endure a significantly higher number of stressful life events than do controls, suggesting that psychological distress may have contributed to the onset of their condition. The implications of the results are discussed and suggestions made for future research.