Against the current climate of hospital closure programmes and community care, attitudes to caregiving were examined in three groups of carers, namely mothers caring for a mentally handicapped child, mothers caring for a mentally handicapped adult and daughters caring for a parent with dementia. An 'attitude questionnaire' was developed by the author and administered, postally, to the three groups. Daughters were found to be more likely than the mothers to see their caring role in a negative way and were more inclined to favour institutional care. Possible reasons for this are discussed. The relationship between attitudes and emotional distress (as measured by the GHQ-30) were also examined for the sample as a whole. Negative and pro-institutional attitudes towards the caregiving situation were associated with elevated levels of emotional distress. Implications at both a local and a national level for all those involved with carers are discussed in the light of these findings.