Mothers of hospitalised preterm infants were randomised into an intervention or control condition. Intervention mothers received a modified Mother-Infant Transaction Program over seven sessions prior to infant discharge and two sessions over the next 3 months. Infant temperament, mother-infant interaction and parenting stress were assessed at 3 and 6 months and infant development was measured by parental report at 24 months. Intervention compared with control dyads showed enhanced mother-infant interactions, infants were temperamentally more "approaching" and "easier", had fewer regulatory problems (colic, sleep, excessive crying), and had more developed communication skills, while mothers were less stressed by their infant at 3 months. These early gains in the development of preterm infants and in the relationship with and adjustment of their mothers, may explain the process by which intervention infants in the original study showed increasing cognitive advantages to 9 years of age [Rauh, V. A., Nurcombe, B., Achenbach, T., & Howell, C. (1990). The mother-infant transaction program. Clinical Perinatology, 17, 31-45].