This study was aimed to highlight the factors which influence experienced burden, coping and needs for support of caregivers for patients with a bipolar disorder. Research articles meeting content and methodological quality criteria from January 1995 through October 2005 were reviewed. High objective and subjective burden is experienced by these caregivers. Subjective burden is extremely influenced by illness beliefs. High burden is associated more with severity of symptoms (than diagnosis), difficulties in the relationship with patient, lack of support and stigma. Coping is influenced by appraisal and burden. Different phases in the process of caregiving require different coping mechanisms. Little research is available on effectiveness of coping mechanisms and needs for support. Suggestions are nevertheless found in the literature for professional support. Caregivers of patients with a bipolar disorder experience high burden and try to cope in different ways. Little research is available on coping styles and needs for support. However, recommendations can be made to increase support for these caregivers.