This study compares the quality of life (QoL) and psychological status of mothers of children with cancer with those of mothers of children without cancer. One hundred hospitalized children and their mothers, as primary caregivers, were included in this study. Fifty mothers with healthy children were enrolled as the control group. A children and mother query form was used to obtain demographical data. The disease histories were extracted from patient records. QoL was measured with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) in order to assess the psychological symptoms of the mothers in the study and in the control groups. The mean age of the caregivers was 35.93 +/- 8.27 years, whereas the mean age of the mothers in the control group was 39.72 +/- 6.88 years. The general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health scores from the SF-36 and the STAI-trait scores were significantly poorer among the mothers of children with cancer as compared with the scores of the mothers of children without cancer (P < .05). Significant negative correlations were found between the age of the children, the age at diagnosis, and the SF-36 subscores for physical functioning, physical role, and pain (P < .05). The mothers of children with cancer, who require hospital care, have poorer QoL and psychological health than the mothers of healthy children. These results suggest that the current system for treating cancer in Turkish children should also include close monitoring of the care-giving mothers' QoL and psychological health.