The type, number, and amount of disturbance generated by caregiving tasks as well as the adequacy of informal social support were examined as predictors of the mental health of 89 wife caregivers of men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The number of supervision tasks performed was predictive of all the mental health outcomes except one. When disturbance level was examined, giving emotional support in difficult situations was the task category that predicted five of the eight outcomes. Support variables accounted for small amounts of variance of most outcomes. However, caregivers who received respite support when they needed it were actually three times more likely to take psychotropic drugs than those not receiving support. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.