The effects of a structured teaching program on 30 mothers' perceptions of and interaction with their premature (between 28 and 35 weeks' gestational age) infants was evaluated. Mothers who agreed to participate in the study were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: control, instruction, and attention. Mothers in the control group received routine care and support from the intensive care nursery staff. Mothers in the instruction group, in addition to the usual intensive care nursery procedures, received instruction about the unique physical and behavioral characteristics of premature infants. Mothers in the attention group were provided with the opportunity to discuss nonmedical concerns about their infants or their situations with the nurse researcher. Measures of maternal perceptions and behaviors were obtained by unbiased observers during home visits two, four, and eight weeks after the infants were discharged from the hospital. No significant differences were found among the groups on maternal perceptions or interaction behaviors.