The social outcome of adults with constitutional growth delay

Alessandro Sartorio, F. Morabito, G. Peri, A. Conti, G. Faglia

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It is well established that children with extreme short stature, secondary to GH deficiency (GHD) or achondroplasia, face a disability that may affect their adult psychosocial outcome, while contrasting data are reported for short normal children. In our hands, adults with GHD have shown an unsatisfactory psychosocial adjustment due to the low adult height and hypothetically to the persistent GHD. This study has been carried out to evaluate the influence of growth in height on the social outcome in 45 adults with constitutional growth delay (CGD). Interviews with subjects and parents were used for assessment. Data obtained were compared with those found in an age, sex and social matched control group of adults with normal height. Some issues were also compared with the data we previously found in adults with GHD. Present mean age of the patients is 24 ± 2 yr. A high percentage (32.8%) of unemployment or underemployment (part-time work) was found. Four patients (8.8%) were married, while 84.4% lived with their parents or relatives, confirming the notion of prolonged economic dependency on the family. The patients preferred single sporting activities, avoiding team work. Surprisingly, scholastic achievement was in general similar to that observed in controls. Similar findings have been previously observed in patients with GHD. Since no defect in GH secretion has been documented in CGD, the presence of a negative psychosocial outcome more probably seems to be due to the final unsatisfactory height rather than to a GH defect. Under these circumstances, a closer collaboration between physician, psychologist and sociologist is proposed in order to ameliorate both the final height and the social outcome of these patients with short stature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-595
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • Adults
  • growth disorders
  • social outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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