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The life-threatening nature of breast cancer, along with the side effects of treatment, place great strain on patients and their families. Husbands may be especially vulnerable as the main source of support to patients. The present study compared the quality of life (QOL) of husbands of patients with breast cancer (HBC; n = 79) to spouses of healthy wives (n = 79). Additionally, associations between QOL and caregiver burden, social support, and coping were examined. HBC scored lower on general health, vitality, role-emotional, and mental health subscales of the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) SF-36 than comparison group participants. No differences were found between groups on the physical functioning, role-physical, bodily pain, or social functioning subscales. Higher QOL in HBC was associated with less caregiver burden as evidenced by lower burden on the Illness Impact Form, lower use of emotion-focused coping on the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, and higher social support on the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List. Wife illness characteristics such as stage of disease and time since diagnosis were not related to QOL in husbands. These findings illuminate the need to support HBC, whose QOL suffers during the breast cancer experience. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.