The social cost of being short: societal perceptions and biases

Acta Paediatr Scand Suppl. 1991;377:3-8. doi: 10.1111/apa.1991.80.s377.3.


This paper has briefly summarized some of the reports of the relationships of height to perceptions of achievement and acceptance of individuals by society. Shorter members of society are perceived to be less competent than taller individuals, both during childhood and as adults; they are seen less positively by peers and perceive themselves less favourably; and they are also more likely to be in lower positions, within a given profession. An understanding by society that shorter people are unfairly disadvantaged by societal perceptions and biases is a necessary first step towards correcting these inequities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height*
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prejudice
  • Social Perception*