A prospective, longitudinal study of a low birthweight, preterm cohort examined the effects of maternal knowledge of child development and concepts of child rearing on the quality of home environment and on child cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Measures of maternal knowledge at 12 months were found to be significantly associated with the quality of the home environment, the number of child behavior problems, and to a small but significant extent child Stanford-Binet IQ at 36 months. Maternal characteristics were associated with both maternal knowledge and maternal behavior. Child characteristics, including birthweight, were not associated with maternal knowledge or concepts of development for most of the cohort. Subgroup analyses by race/ethnicity revealed a similar pattern of results. However, a measure of neonatal health status was shown to be significantly associated with cognitive outcome in the African-American subgroup at 24 and 36 months.