In patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the acceptance of the illness is probably a major factor in the improvement of quality of life. The aim of this study is to identify the criteria associated with a good or bad acceptance of the disease and to identify means of improving it. We have undertaken a telephone enquiry among patients with COPD with the aid of a standardized questionnaire established by several health experts. Of the 1040 patients who have been contacted, 356 (34 %) replied to the questionnaire. Ninety-nine patients reported unacceptance of their disease (28 %). The patients who did not accept their disease were significantly more severe, with more difficulty in performing daily life activities, particularly exercising. These patients had significantly greater difficulty in understanding their disease and also reported more frequently a moralizing attitude among their family. The greater the handicap of the disease, the greater is the difficulty in accepting the disease by the patient. The doctor could have an impact in improving the therapeutic education and involving the family in the patient's care. Copyright © 2019 SPLF. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.