Psychological impact of significantly short stature

Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl. 1991;377:14-8; discussion 19. doi: 10.1111/apa.1991.80.s377.14.


These baseline data confirm that many children with significantly short stature are vulnerable to diverse developmental, social and educational problems, and substantiate the importance of a multidisciplinary treatment approach that includes a comprehensive psychological and medical assessment. The psychological assessment should focus on the early detection of problems in academic achievement and psychosocial development, in order that appropriate educational and counselling interventions can be provided. The paediatrician can also foster a positive relationship with patients and their families to facilitate treatment compliance and improve overall outcome in several ways. These include a simple explanation of the aetiology of the child's short stature and how the diagnosis was made, a review of the treatment protocol that includes information about potential side-effects and suggestions for minimizing conflicts about injections, and an open discussion of prognosis to help families develop realistic expectations. It is further suggested that paediatricians stress that treatment outcome should be assessed in psychological terms, such as increased responsibility, as well as physical growth. These anticipatory interventions will help to ensure that the eventual outcome of comprehensive treatment is an optimally functioning young adult.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Social Adjustment*