The relationship between congenital heart disease (CHD) and psychological functioning was studied in 63 children with transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and 77 children with tetralogy of Fallot (TF). These youngsters were compared with a group of 36 children originally diagnosed with CHD, but who spontaneously recovered (SR) without medical intervention. All children were under one year of age when diagnosed and were given psychological testing between 5.5 and 6.3 years. Children with TGA and TF had poorer overall psychological functioning and significantly greater central nervous system (CNS) impairment than the SR children. However when the effects of IQ and CNS impairment were controlled, there were no differences between groups. The diagnosis of a severe cyanotic heart defect does not appear to make a child more likely to have emotional disorder in the absence of other factors.