To evaluate social adjustment and self-esteem in patients with unipolar (UP) and bipolar (BP) affective disorder and to examine demographic and clinical correlates of these variables, outpatients with UP and BP disorder in remission for at least 12 months were consecutively recruited and individually matched to control subjects with no personal or family history of psychiatric illness (UP-control matched pairs, n = 23; BP-control matched pairs, n = 27). Subjects completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (SES) and the self-report version of the Social Adjustment Scale (SAS). UP patients reported significantly worse overall social adjustment than their matched controls (P = .009), specifically in the area of social and leisure activities (P = .0003) and poorer self-esteem (P = .02). When separated by gender, only the female UP group manifested significant findings on the SAS. BP patients reported poorer self-esteem than their controls (P = .04), but were not significantly different on the SAS. Although the patients were not clinically depressed, a worse social adjustment was significantly associated with a higher score on the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) in both groups. In the UP group, this association was absent when the analysis was limited to patients receiving antidepressant pharmacotherapy. The findings indicate that (1) UP patients, particularly women, experience substantial difficulties in social adjustment, primarily in social and leisure activities, even during stable clinical remission, and (2) in both UP and BP patients, adjustment problems are related to depressive symptoms even though these are minimal in severity.