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A close relative of 55 severely head injured adults (post-traumatic amnesia greater than or equal to 2 days) was interviewed 3, 6 and 12 months after injury to obtain information about psychosocial changes in the patient. The problems most frequently reported were emotional disturbances, poor memory, and subjective symptoms, with physical disability much less common. The amount of stress experienced by relatives did not diminish between 3 and 12 months, and was related to the incidence of mental and behavioural changes in the patient. The question of whether or not compensation was being claimed did not appear to influence the outcome.