The effects of prenatal, perinatal and postnatal events on developmental outcome at five to seven years of preterm infants with birthweights appropriate for gestational age were investigated in two separate cohorts: one a longitudinal study of 97 infants, the other a cross-sectional study of 249 infants. Among the prenatal variables, the number of minor congenital anomalies was negatively correlated with neurological development, as was the deformation score. The pregnancy optimality score was not significantly related to outcome. Among the perinatal variables, gestational age and birthweight had some significant correlations with development, but birth and neonatal optimality scores were only inconsistently significant in relation to outcome. Socio-economic status was strongly related to language and intellectual development. Infants with gestations of 32 to 36 weeks had a more favourable neurological and intellectual outcome than those born before 32 weeks: however, the former group comprised about 80 per cent of the population studied, so the majority of children with lower function were found in that group.