The neurological basis of an increased incidence of cerebral palsy (CP) in preterm males is unknown. This study examined neonatal brain structure on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) at term-equivalent age, sex, and neurodevelopment at 1 year 6 months on the basis of the Amiel-Tison neurological examination, Gross Motor Function Classification System, and Bayley Scales of Infant Development in 78 very-low-birthweight preterm children (41 males, 37 females; mean gestational age 27.6 wks, SD 2.5; mean birthweight 1021 g, SD 339). Brain abnormalities on MRI and DTI were not different between males and females except in the splenium of the corpus callosum, where males had lower DTI fractional anisotropy (p=0.025) and a higher apparent diffusion coefficient (p=0.013), indicating delayed splenium development. In the 26 infants who were at higher risk on the basis of DTI, males had more abnormalities on MRI (p=0.034) and had lower fractional anisotropy and a higher apparent diffusion coefficient in the splenium (p=0.049; p=0.025) and right posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC; p=0.003; p=0.033). Abnormal neurodevelopment was more common in males (n=9) than in females (n=2; p=0.036). Children with abnormal neurodevelopment had more abnormalities on MRI (p=0.014) and reduced splenium and right PLIC fractional anisotropy (p=0.001; p=0.035). In children with abnormal neurodevelopment, right PLIC fractional anisotropy was lower than left (p=0.035), whereas in those with normal neurodevelopment right PLIC fractional anisotropy was higher than left (p=0.001). Right PLIC fractional anisotropy correlated to neurodevelopment (rho=0.371, p=0.002). Logistic regression predicted neurodevelopment with 94% accuracy; only right PLIC fractional anisotropy was a significant logistic coefficient. Results indicate that the higher incidence of abnormal neurodevelopment in preterm males relates to greater incidence and severity of brain abnormalities, including reduced PLIC and splenium development.