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Families caring for a member with a chronic severe mental illness like schizophrenia have to cope with a lot of burden and distress. The coping styles used by these families and their relationship to burden has not been studied in Indian families. This study aims to identify the coping styles adopted by the relatives of schizophrenic patients. 44 patients with schizophrenia and 44 relatives from an outpatient psychiatric clinic were assessed. Resignation, an emotion-focussed coping strategy, was found to be more commonly employed by the relatives, than other strategies. Majority of the relatives failed to maintain social contacts. Levels of burden and negative symptoms correlated significantly with the resignation strategy. Analysis of the coping strategies of the relatives is essential before clinical interventions with families are planned to improve the coping skills of the carers.