The adaptation to changes in human operator dynamics and changes in working environment dynamics can be an important issue in designing high performance telerobotic systems. This paper describes an approach to force control in telerobotic hand systems in which model reference adaptive control techniques are used to adapt to changes in human operator and working environment dynamics. The techniques have been applied to force-reflective control of a single degree-of-freedom telerobotic gripper system at Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR). This adaptive gripping system is described in the paper along with results of experiments with human subjects in which the performance of the adaptive system was analysed and compared to the performance of a conventional non-adaptive system. These experiments emphasized adaptation to changes in compliance of gripped objects and adaptation to the on-set of human operator fatigue.