Psychosocial aspects of constitutional short stature: social competence, behavior problems, self-esteem, and family functioning

J Pediatr. 1982 Sep;101(3):477-80. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(82)80093-0.


To determine the psychosocial effects of short stature, we administered a battery of psychologic tests to 24 children (ages 6 to 12 years) with constitutional short stature. Their results were compared to those of a group of 23 healthy children with normal stature matched for age, IQ, sex, and socioeconomic status. The short children had significantly higher scores on parental ratings of behavioral difficulties, especially somatic complaints, social withdrawal, and schizoidal tendencies. There were also indications of impaired self-concept as expressed by feelings of unpopularity and dissatisfaction. Parental responses suggested a tendency to set less clear limits on behavior, but not necessarily toward overprotectiveness. Parents of short children also gave responses indicating poorer communication and cooperation among family members. In contrast to recent studies of growth hormone-deficient children, in which no maladjustment surfaced, these results indicate that children with constitutional delay have characteristic behavioral difficulties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior*