OBJECTIVE To investigate the relationship between family history of cancer, coping style and psychological distress. METHODS Total 80 patients with family history of cancer and 72 normal controls were analyzed using self-reporting inventory (SCL-90), coping style scale and impact of event scale-revised (IES-R). RESULTS 1. Between the two groups of patients, there were significant differences in anxiety, depression, cancer-specific distress and coping style. 2. Psychological distress (anxiety, depression and cancer-specific distress) had positive correlation with negative coping style and family history. 3. Negative coping style played an intermediary role in the family history and psychological distress. CONCLUSION The negative coping style will predispose to a more stronger psychological distress among the individuals with family history of cancer.