Objectives: The objectives of this study were to identify common stressors experienced by spouses of heart transplantation (HT) candidates; to identify differences in stressors among spouses of HT candidates based on selected demographic variables; and to report preliminary psychometric data on the newly developed Spouse Transplant Stressor Scale. Design: Comparative, cross-sectional survey. Sample: Spouses of 85 HT candidates awaiting HT at midwestern and southeastern medical centers and a midwestern Department of Veterans Affairs hospital. Measures: Spouse Transplant Stressor Scale (Collins), an investigator-developed rating form and demographic data sheet. Results: Spouses of HT candidates reported high levels of stress during the wait for a donor heart. Factors related directly to the transplantation experience were rated as the most stressful. Fear that the patient (partner) would die before a heart became available was the worst stressor for the spouses. Working spouses perceived more stressors related to responsibility, socioeconomics, and self. Stressors associated with the transplantation process itself were equally stressful for spouses who work and spouses who do not work.