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      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

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          Does being of short stature (SS) matter? Growth studies are important because endocrinologists need to be able to give not only diagnostic but also prognostic indication to those of SS, and give advice for or against treatment. Studies on body height may give significant insight into the behavioural-hypothalamic-pituitary axis underlying the surface effect on social behaviour. This research presents adult follow-up studies of 49 males who attended at a growth clinic as children and who were diagnosed as having the condition of maturational delay short stature (MDSS). From the psychological perspective, the elements of diagnosis and prognosis, attitudinal influences both social and individual, treatment, and psychological issues which could have bearing on SS are drawn together. Where there is a poor psychosocial outcome finding, the MDSS patients seem to be more like those with growth hormone (GH) deficiency. With GH deficiency (GHD), a poor psychosocial outcome of SS has been demonstrated with greater certainty. The current situation is that there remains divergence between previous SS outcome studies. Differing research SS psychosocial outcomes are analysed and a methodological explanation of past divergent outcomes is presented, being: (1) differences in sensitivity between psychological assessment tools; (2) Invalidation by confounding the psychological with sociological outcomes, and (3) confounding of results by failure to control for psychological states. An innovative new approach of changing the methodology of past SS research from the biological to the psychological perspective is employed: previous SS research has appointed height status as the independent variable, with psychosocial outcome as the dependent variable. The innovative approach in this research is to reverse that order and psychological status has been made the independent variable for both the MDSS and for a predetermined psychologically and physically healthy (PPH) comparison group of males. The results of the follow-up studies in this research indicate that there is an association between psychological distress and attained height which supports other studies where the findings indicate a poor psychological outcome associated with SS. It can therefore be concluded that the psychological status of children should be determined when they attend a growth clinic with concerns of SS.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          June 2005
          15 June 2005
          : 63
          : Suppl 1
          : 1
          84606 Horm Res 2005;63:1
          © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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