The evidence supporting a relationship between stress and diabetes has been inconsistent.This study examined the effects of stress on abnormal glucose metabolism, using a population-based sample of 3,759, with normoglycemia at baseline, from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study.Perceived stress and stressful life events were measured at baseline, with health behavior and anthropometric information also collected. Oral glucose tolerance tests were undertaken at baseline and 5-year follow-up. The primary outcome was the development of abnormal glucose metabolism (impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, and type 2 diabetes), according to WHO 1999 criteria.Perceived stress predicted incident abnormal glucose metabolism in women but not men, after multivariate adjustment. Life events showed an inconsistent relationship with abnormal glucose metabolism.Perceived stress predicted abnormal glucose metabolism in women. Healthcare professionals should consider psychosocial adversity when assessing risk factor profiles for the development of diabetes.