Compared the psychological adjustment of 81 children with brain tumors to that of 31 control children with various malignancies not involving the central nervous system. Both groups exhibited significantly increased frequencies of elevations on one or more age- and gender-corrected Social Competence and Behavior Problems scales of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) relative to normative expectations. Comparison of the Brain Tumor and Cancer Control groups revealed no significant differences on any CBCL scale. Among children diagnosed with brain tumors, stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that low child IQ, residence in a single-parent family, moderate to severe disfigurement, low SES, tumor location, and severe functional impairment were associated with decreased Social Competence scores. Elevated Behavior Problems scores were associated with younger maternal age at the child's birth, tumor location, and residence in a single-parent family. Results reinforce the need to consider complex relationships between demographic characteristics of the child's family, type of brain damage, and the cosmetic and functional status of the child in determining acute psychological adjustment of brain-damaged children.