A comprehensive thin-shell finite-element study has been conducted of stresses in tubular Y- and T-joints with a wide range of geometric ratios and subject to axial, in-plane and out-of-plane loading. The results of this study are used to derive characteristic formulae for the stress distributions around the intersection. Parametric equations for the stress concentration factor as a function of joint geometry were previously fitted at key locations on both chord and brace sides of the intersection. By combining these two sets of equations the stress distribution for a Y- or T-joint may be predicted from its geometric parameters and the mode of loading. Comparisons are made of some predicted stress distribution curves with the finite-element data as well as results from strain-gauged acrylic and steel models. © 1990.