BACKGROUND: Parents of children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) are likely to experience serious distress. The aims of this study were to (i) assess distress among mothers of preschoolers with high-functioning PDD (HFPDD); and (ii) examine its relation to the child’s behavioral characteristics. METHODS: Participants were 30 mothers of preschoolers with HFPDD, and 30 mothers of a matched control group. Short Form 36 Health Survey Questionnaire (version 2), and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were used for assessment. The children’s autistic traits were assessed using the total number of items for the DSM-IV-TR autistic disorder diagnosis. RESULTS: Mothers in the HFPDD group were more distressed mentally than physically. Neither physical nor mental distress in the group was related to the child’s autistic traits, while their mental distress was significantly related to the child’s behavior problems. CONCLUSIONS: Mothers in the HFPDD group were at increased risk of impaired mental wellbeing. Maternal mental distress in the group was significantly related to general behavior problems, but not to autistic traits in the child.