The level of social recovery achieved by a representative series of 50 young adults was assessed six months after a severe closed head injury (post-traumatic amnesia greater than 24 hours). Work, leisure activities, and contact with friends were the areas of life most affected, whereas family life and marital relationships appeared to withstand changes at this stage in the recovery process. Many patients were still suffering from subjective symptoms, but these appeared to have relatively minor effects on ability to resume normal activities. Physical disability was a much more important factor at this stage. A control group of patients with limb injuries suffered similar disruption of their lives, but reported few subjective complaints.