Stress in thin films has been measured very precisely (< 10 MPa) by analysing the curvature of quartz glass substrates before and after film deposition by means of a ZYGO Mark IV interferometer system. TiO2 films of approximately 100 nm thickness were prepared by reactive evaporation (RE), reactive ion plating (IP), plasma impulse chemical vapor deposition (PICVD) and spin coating (SC). Large variations in stress are found for different coating techniques and deposition conditions. This can be correlated to differences in optical properties, film density and crystalline structure. Relaxation effects and the influence of thermal treatment are also studied. The crystallization of amorphous TiO2 during heat treatment is accompanied by significant changes in film stress. The crystal size and morphology of TiO2 films after heat treatment strongly depend on the deposition technique and process conditions.