Diffraction methods are used for the determination of characteristic residual stress (RS) distributions in undismantled clinched samples for the assessment of the influence of RS on the mechanical behaviour of clinched joints. While X-ray diffraction enables merely the determination of near-surface RS distributions, the higher penetration depth of neutron radiation allows the determination of triaxial RS states inside the material. In addition, the complex geometry of clinched joints restricts the application of X-ray RS analysis. Therefore a combined RS determination by X-ray and neutron diffraction has been used to obtain an expressive assessment of the RS distributions in the immediate vicinity of clinched joints. Two different materials with different mechanical behaviour were used for clinching, as well as two different common clinching techniques.