We compared the neurobehavioral performance at term between very low-birthweight (VLBW) infants and term infants in Taiwan, and investigated the relationships between neonatal factors and neurobehavioral performance in VLBW infants. Sixty VLBW infants and 58 healthy term infants were examined using the Neonatal Neurobehavioral Examination-Chinese version (NNE-C) at 40 weeks postmenstrual age. Medical records of the VLBW infants were reviewed to assess neonatal factors. The mean total score of the preterm infants (67.4+/-5.0) was significantly lower than that of the term infants (73.8+/-3.0) (t = 8.51, P < 0.0001). Furthermore, respiratory illness had a marginal effect on the rate of low neurobehavioral score (defined as 2SD below the mean score of term infants) in the preterm infants after adjustment for gestational age (odds ratio = 7.67, chi2 = 3.36, P = 0.067). Our findings indicate that preterm infants have lower neurobehavioral scores at term than their healthy term counterparts. Furthermore, respiratory illness may be a potential risk factor for low neurobehavioral score at term in preterm infants when gestational age is adjusted for.