Aim of the study was to analyse quality of life and psychological functioning in patients with sprain of the neck, to analyse the relationship between complaints, quality of life, psychological functioning and personality factors, and to analyse the profile of patients with whiplash associated disorders (WAD), 4 years after trauma. From the University Hospital Groningen 193 patients with the diagnose sprain of the neck filled out a questionnaire. Of this group 100 subjects did not have complaints before the accident and were therefore at risk for the development of complaints as a result of sprain of the neck. Quality of life and psychological functioning were assessed using the RAND-36 and the SCL-90, respectively. Personality was assessed by means of the Dutch Personality Questionnaire. Of the group at risk (56% women and 44% men, mean age: 33.9, SD: 14.6) quality of life was significantly worse in subjects with complaints (mean: 78.4, SD: 15.5) compared to subjects without complaints (mean: 87.5, SD: 8.7). Psychological functioning did not differ significantly between the group with complaints compared to group without complaints. Personality did not differ between the groups. Personality and complaints together were significantly related to quality of life (r: 0.77) and psychological functioning (r: 0.85). No specific profile of WAD patients was found. In conclusion, personality and complaints influence quality of life and psychological functioning to a considerable extent.