The aim of this study was to examine the sociodemographic and clinical variables associated with life satisfaction in psychiatric patients. The study population consisted of out-patients and in-patients (n = 1204) treated at the Department of Psychiatry of Kuopio University Hospital in North Savo, Finland, during May 1993. Sociodemographic, psychosocial and clinical correlates of life satisfaction were examined by means of two different questionnaires, one directed at patients and the other directed at the staff. Life satisfaction was assessed by means of a separate scale based on four questions. Patients with schizophrenia were less dissatisfied than patients with other disorders. The strongest correlates of dissatisfaction were depression and poor social support. Other factors relating to dissatisfaction in multiple regression analysis were self-rated health and poor financial circumstances. A psychosomatic reaction tendency or degree of psychosocial functioning at the time of the study was not independently related to life satisfaction. Psychiatric patients who are dissatisfied should be evaluated both for depression and for effectiveness of their social network.