In the context of living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), German transplantation law stipulates that donor candidates should primarily be relatives of the recipients or persons with distinct and close relationships. In this study, we investigated the influence of the relationship between the donor and the recipient on the donor's emotional strain before transplantation. Donors were categorized according to the following subgroups: (1) parents donating for their children, (2) children donating for their parents, (3) siblings, (4) spouses, (5) other relatives, and (6) nonrelatives. The sample consisted of 168 donor candidates. Anxiety (F = 2.8, P = 0.02), depression (F = 2.6, P = 0.03), and emotional quality of life (F = 3.1, P = 0.01) differed significantly according to the relationship between the donor and the recipient. In comparison with healthy controls, parents donating for their children were significantly less stressed before LDLT and demonstrated fewer anxiety (P < 0.01) and depression symptoms (P < 0.05). Adult children donating for their parents demonstrated the highest mental burden and the lowest emotional quality of life. However, this was not due to the responsibility of these children for their own families because differences between donors with children and donors without children could not be ascertained. This group should be given special attention before LDLT and during follow-up visits, and psychological help should be provided when it is necessary. Liver Transpl, 2012. © 2012 AASLD.