Using the Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire (MHQ) and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) psychological distress was measured in 30 women who underwent laparoscopy for chronic pelvic pain and in 30 matched controls. Both organic pelvic pain patients (OPPs) and idiopathic pelvic pain patients (IPPs) reported higher scores for somatisation than controls. IPPs scored higher than OPPs and controls on the Zung SDS, while no difference emerged in this scale between OPPs and controls. No correlations were found between age or duration of symptoms and somatisation and depression scores. On the basis of the above reported results the authors suggest that some forms of idiopathic chronic pelvic pain might represent an expression of a depressive disorder.