Short stature is widely regarded to be a liability, but despite the importance commonly ascribed to the psychological impact of physique, there is a paucity of methodologically sound research on the topic. The question of growth hormone therapy for a short, but otherwise normal child is still controversial. The justification for such treatment will depend not only on whether a marked improvement in height can be achieved but also on whether short stature can be shown to be an appreciable handicap, either in childhood or later in life. There is some evidence, though much is anecdotal, to suggest that the short statured adult is disadvantaged both socially and economically. There are no conclusive data as yet, however, to suggest that short statured children, either before or during early adolescence have significantly lower scores on conventional psychometric testing than children of average stature. Possibly, the problems associated with short stature will only emerge in the older adolescent, but for the present, alternative, less expensive forms of treatment should be considered for those children apparently unable to cope.