The aim of this study was to evaluate anxiety, depression, alexithymia, and general psychological symptoms in the mothers of autistic children in comparison with those in the mothers of mentally retarded children. Forty mothers of autistic children and 38 mothers of mentally retarded children were included in the study. After a clinical interview, psychometric tests were performed for depression, anxiety, alexithymia, and Symptom Distress Check List (SCL-90) for general psychological symptoms. Non-depression rates was 27.5% in the mothers of autistic children whereas the rate was 55.3% in the mothers of mentally retarded children. There was no difference regarding anxiety and alexithymia between the two groups. The psychopathology in the mothers of autistic children was more frequent than in those of mentally retarded children in all sub-scales of SCL-90 (somatization obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, anger-hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid thought, psychotism, and extra scale). The mothers of autistic children experienced more psychological distress than those of mentally retarded children. Our findings indicates that the assessment of autistic and mentally retarded children should include psychological assessment of their mothers.