Psychological assessments before and after treatment of early puberty in adopted children

Acta Paediatr. 2001 Sep;90(9):965-71. doi: 10.1080/080352501316978011.


Early puberty is frequently observed in adopted children. This randomized trial treated 30 adopted children with early puberty and short stature with either gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) alone or in combination with growth hormone (GH) for 3 y. Before the start of treatment (T1) in the trial and at discontinuation (T2) the children and their parents underwent a psychological evaluation. At the start of treatment the children did not have increased levels of behavioural or emotional problems as assessed by the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). During treatment the CBCL scores did not increase. Self-perception of the children appeared to be normal, and after 3 y a significantly higher score for acceptance by peers was observed. At T1, an overestimation of future height was present in 80% of the children and 17% of the parents. Lower family stress was observed at T1 and T2 compared with reference values. Intelligence quotient levels decreased significantly during treatment. The findings are discussed with reference to the reported levels of behavioural and emotional problems in adopted children and the psychosocial effects of precocious puberty.

Conclusion: This psychological evaluation did not reveal any consistent abnormalities in adopted children with early puberty. Treatment with GnRHa with or without GH did not increase emotional and behavioural problems in adopted children, nor was their self-perception decreased.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoption* / psychology
  • Body Height* / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Puberty, Precocious / drug therapy*
  • Puberty, Precocious / psychology*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone