Two cultivars of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) which were designated as resistant (Florispan) and sensitive (Gazipasa) according to their growth retardation under drought stress conditions were compared for their oxidative damage and antioxidant responses. Sixteen days-old peanut seedlings were subjected to PEG-6000 solutions of two different osmotic potentials; -0.4 and -0.8 MPa, and various growth parameters, photosystem II activity, changes in malondialdehyde (MDA), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and proline levels, activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POX) and gluthatione reductase (GR) enzymes were determined. Both cultivars exhibited water deficit at -0.8 MPa osmotic potential of PEG-6000 and H2O2 levels significantly increased during exposure to -0.4 MPa osmotic potential. However, H2O2 levels were under control in both cultivars at exposure to -0.8 MPa osmotic potential. Significant proline accumulation was observed in the tissues of cv. Florispan at -0.8 MPa osmotic potential, whereas proline accumulation did not appear to be an essential part of the protection mechanism against drought in cv. Gazipasa. No significant variation in chlorophyll fluorescence values were detected in neither of the cultivars. Enzyme activity measurements revealed that Gazipasa copes well with lesser magnitudes of drought stress by increasing the activity of mainly APX, and during harsh stress conditions, only APX maintains its activity in the tissues. In cultivar Florispan, GR activity appears to take role in lesser magnitudes of drought stress, whereas CAT and APX activities appear to be very crucial antioxidative defenses during intense stress conditions. The results indicate that, the level of proline and activities of the enzymes CAT and APX are important mechanisms for the maintenance of drought tolerance in peanut plants.