Short stature among girl child: a psychological burden or a social stigma-a review

Karishma Sharma, Brijendra Singh, Manisha Naithani, Rishita Chandra, Prashant K. Verma


Short stature (SS) is defined as “height below the third percentile or less than two standard deviations below the median height for that age and sex according to the population standard”. Short stature is not itself a pathology or disease but sometimes may be present as a manifestation of some underlying pathological condition. This condition is seen to impact adversely on the psychological wellbeing of the affected individuals and gives rise to the social stigma which further worsens the quality of life of short-statured persons. Hence, there is a need to acknowledge and break this stigma thereby improving the psychological wellbeing of the short-statured population.


Short stature, Social stigma, Bullying, Self-esteem

Full Text:



Warrier V, Krishan K, Shedge R, Kanchan T. Height Assessment. 2020 May 5. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. 2021.

Bhadada SK, Agrawal NK, Singh SK, Agrawal JK. Etiological profile of short stature. Indian J Pediatr. 2003;70:545-7.

Zlotkin D, Varma SK. Psychosocial effects of short stature. Indian J Pediatr. 2006;73:79-80.

Colaco P, Desai M, Choksi CS. Short stature in Indian children: the extent of the problem. Indian J Pediatr. 1991;1:57-8.

Rani D, Shrestha R, Kanchan T, et al. Short Stature. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. 2021.

Conrad P, Potter D. Human growth hormone and the temptations of biomedical enhancement. Sociol Health Illness. 2004;26(2):184215.

Busschbach JJ, Rikken B, Grobbee DE, De Charro FT, Wit JM 1998 Quality of life in short adults. Horm Res. 49:32-8.

Boulton TJC, Dunn SM, Quigley CA, Taylor JJ, Thompson L, Members of the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group. Perceptions of self and short stature: Effects of two years of growth hormone treatment. Acta Paediatr Scan Suppl. 1991;377:2027.

Cuttler L, Silvers JB, Singh J, Marrero U, Finkelstein B, Tannin G, Neuhauser D. Short stature and growth hormone therapy. A national study of physician recommended patterns. J Am Med Assoc. 1996;276:531-7.

Meyer-Bahlburg HFL. Short stature: psychological issues. In Pediatric Endocrinology. A Clinical Guide, 2nd edn. Ed. F Lifshitz, New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990;173-96.

Sandberg DE, Brook AE, Campos SP. Short stature: a psychosocial burden requiring growth hormone therapy? Pediatrics. 1994;94:832-40.

Goffman E. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1963.

Link BG, Phelan JC. Conceptualizing stigma. Ann Rev Sociol. 2001;27(2001):363385.

Major B, O’Brien LT. The social psychology of stigma. Ann Rev Psychol. 2005;56:93421.

Law CM. The disability of short stature. Arch Dis Childhood. 1987;62(8):855859.

Scott J, Marshall G. Master status. A dictionary of sociology. 2009. Available at: http://www.oxfordre 008.001.0001/acref-9780199533008. Accessed on 24 January 2021.

Jetten J, Branscombe NR, Schmitt MT, Spears R. Rebels with a cause: Group identification as a response to perceived discrimination from the mainstream. Personality Social Psychol Bull. 2001;27:12041213.