The emotional coping of 205 patients newly diagnosed with cancer was evaluated every 4 months during a 1-year period. Patients received a psychosocial intervention either immediately (early intervention, EI), or after a 4-month delay (later intervention, LI). No significant differences were found between the two groups, except at 8 months, when the LI group was significantly less depressed, anxious, and worried, and felt more in control than the EI group. The LI group continued to have less worry related to illness at, 12 months. Patients with high ego strength had low levels of distress at baseline and may not have needed the intervention. The emotional coping of patients with breast cancer improved during the year regardless of the intervention timing. Patients with other diagnoses appeared to benefit most from the LI. It was concluded that patients with low ego strength and diagnoses other than breast cancer might be at higher risk for psychosocial complications and could benefit from the intervention.