Longitudinal data from 84 head-injured children and adolescents, who were tested at three points in the first year postinjury, were analyzed to determine the best combination of demographic, injury-related, and behavioral factors predicting cognitive performance. Dependent variables were language, memory, visuomotor, and speeded performance factor scores obtained through confirmatory factor analyses of an extensive test battery. Multiple regression analyses indicated that injury severity and the existence of previous psychological, physical, or cognitive disorders were primary for predicting acute (1 month post-hospital discharge) performance for older subjects. For younger subjects, however, parental marital status was the most important correlate of acute cognitive performance. Those residing in homes with both parents fared better than children in one-parent families. At 6 months and 1 year postinjury, the older subjects who performed most poorly initially remained the most impaired. For younger children, acute cognitive standing was also an important predictor of later performance, but parental marital status remained a crucial influence on their longer-term recovery of cognitive skills.