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To investigate the inter-rater reliability and validity of the Neurobehavioural Rating Scale at various stages of recovery after hospitalisation for closed head injury, we studied 101 head trauma patients who had no antecedent neuropsychiatric disorder. The results demonstrated satisfactory inter-rater reliability and showed that the Neurobehavioural Rating Scale reflects both the severity and chronicity of closed head injury. A principal components analysis revealed four factors which were differentially related to severity of head injury and the presence of a frontal lobe mass lesion. Although our findings provide support for utilising clinical ratings of behaviour to investigate sequelae of head injury, extension of this technique to other settings is necessary to evaluate the distinctiveness of the neurobehavioural profile of closed head injury as compared with other aetiologies of brain damage.