It has long been understood that many of the same manipulations that increase longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans also increase resistance to various acute stressors, and vice-versa; moreover these findings hold in more complex organisms as well. Nevertheless, the mechanistic relationship between these phenotypes remains unclear, and in many cases the overlap between stress resistance and longevity is inexact. Here we review the known connections between stress resistance and longevity, discuss instances in which these connections are absent, and summarize the theoretical explanations that have been posited for these phenomena.