Psychological Adjustment of Children Evaluated for Short Stature: A Preliminary Report

Gregory D. Zimet, Margaret Cutler, Marilyn Litvene, William Dahms, Ruth Owens, Leona Cuttler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Since synthetic growth hormone became available in the mid-1980s, there has been debate about its use for non-growth-hormone-deficient short children. Justification for this use of growth hormone often is based on a presumed association of short stature with significant psychosocial maladjustment. However, systematic evaluation of psychosocial functioning in short children has been limited, and our understanding of this area is scant. In this study, we have used a combination of interview and self-report measures to examine self-esteem, personality characteristics, affective functioning, coping style, and stature-related stresses in 41 children (5 to 16 years) referred to a pediatric endocrinology service because of short stature. Parent-report and child measures of self-esteem and psychological functioning indicated no evidence of maladjustment in comparison with norms. Furthermore, within the subject sample, the degree of short stature was not related to poor psychological functioning. We found limited evidence linking increased age with increased distress, suggesting that short stature may pose greater difficulties for children as they enter adolescence. Taken as a whole, however, the results do not support the contention that short stature is generally associated with psychosocial maladjustment in children referred for evaluation of their short stature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-270
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995


  • children
  • psychological adjustment.
  • short stature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)

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