Psychosocial outcome at one year post-injury was examined prospectively in 466 hospitalized head-injured subjects, 124 trauma controls, and 88 friend controls. The results indicate that head injury is associated with persistent psychosocial limitations. However, the presence and extent of limitations are related to the demographics of the population injured, to other system injuries sustained in the same accident, and particularly to the severity of the head injury. More severe head injuries are associated with limitations implying greater dependence on others including poorer Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) ratings, dependent living, unemployment, low income, and reliance on family and social subsidy systems. Head injury severity is more closely related to more objective indices of psychosocial outcome (e.g., employment) than to self-perceived psychosocial limitations, such as measured by the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP).