Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) theory of stress, coping, and adaptation served as the framework for a path model of quality of life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It was hypothesized that psychosocial variables (depression, anxiety, self-esteem, optimism, and social support) would mediate the effects of demographic (age, socioeconomic status) and disease (dyspnea, disease severity, and functional status) variables on life quality in COPD. Interview, pulmonary function, and 6-minute walk test data obtained from 126 subjects with COPD resulted in support for the majority of the hypothesized relationships. Variables having direct effects on life quality were self-esteem, depression, social support, and age. Anxiety and optimism did not have their hypothesized effects on quality of life, suggesting the need to reconsider their importance in influencing life quality in COPD. ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.