OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study is to compare quality of life among currently depressed, subsyndromal and remitted patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and to assess whether the level of depression correlates with the scores of quality of life in BD patients. METHOD: Sixty bipolar outpatients diagnosed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV who met criteria for diagnosis of BD type I, II or not otherwise specified (BD-NOS), and who were not currently on a manic or mixed episode were included. The main variables of interest were quality of life (QOL) assessed using the 26-item World Health Organization QOL instrument (WHOQOL-BREF) and depression assessed using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). RESULTS: A linear trend test showed a dose response association between patients' current mood state and all domains of quality of life. Higher quality of life scores were found among remitted patients, followed by subsyndromal patients; depressed patients presented lower scores of quality of life, except for the social domain. The four domains of the WHOQOL scale correlated negatively with the HDRS. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that bipolar depression and residual symptoms of depression are negatively correlated with QOL in BD patients.