Thermal degradation characteristic of polyphenylenes is an important issue for developing a rational technology of polymer processing and applications. In this study, we discussed thermal degradation of polyphenylenes (PP) with poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) and/or PCL/polystyrene copolymers (PSt) prepared by combined controlled polymerization and cross-coupling processes via direct pyrolysis mass spectrometry. When PPgraft-PCL/PSt copolymers were considered, thermally less stabile PCL side chains decomposed in the first step. In the second stage of pyrolysis, the decomposition of the polystyrene chains has taken place. A slight increase in thermal stability of PCL chains for PP-graft-PCL/PSt copolymers was noted compared to copolymer PP-graft-PCL due to the interaction between PSt and PCL chains. This interaction was stronger when PSt chains were linked to the 2-position of the 1,4-phenylene ring. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.