PURPOSE: The aim of the current research was to characterize psychological adjustment among partners of women at high risk of developing breast/ovarian cancer and to explore the relationship between women's and partners' adjustment. METHODS: A study of 95 unaffected at-risk women and 95 partners was carried out using mailed, self-administered questionnaires with validated measures of psychological outcome. RESULTS: Elevated levels of distress were noted in up to 10% of partners. High monitoring coping style and greater perceived breast cancer risk for their wife were associated with higher distress levels for partners. However, communicating openly with their wife and the occurrence of a recent cancer-related event in the woman's family were related to lower distress for partners. Partners' cancer-specific distress was positively related to their wives' distress. CONCLUSION: Among partners with elevated levels of distress, the ability to provide effective support to the at-risk women and participate appropriately in their decision making may be compromised. These partners are likely to benefit from targeted clinical interventions designed to reduce their distress levels. The findings emphasize the importance of considering partners of at-risk women in service provision and highlight the need for partners to obtain information and support specifically tailored to their needs.