The lifetime prevalence of affective disorder in women with M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s was assessed by personal interview. The two groups were matched by age, race, and marital status. Thirty-nine percent of 111 white, women physicians and 30% of 103 white, women Ph.D.'s were found to have primary affective disorder. There was no excess of depression in women psychiatrists or psychologists. Eleven percent of the first degree relatives of the depressed M.D.'s and 7% of similar relatives of depressed Ph.D.'s had affective disorder by family history compared to only 2% of the well M.D.'s and 2% of the well Ph.D.'s relatives. The study confirms that depression is an extremely common problem for professional women. By emphasizing its heritability, it raises the question of the self-selection for professional careers of women with affective disorder.