Children With Growth Hormone Deficiency Are More Susceptible to Social Maladjustment
Indicators of social maladjustment have been identified in children with growth hormone deficiency, according to a new study.
To identify indicators of psychosocial problems and low self-esteem in children with growth hormone deficiency, the researchers compared results from the Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Dembo-Rubinstein graphic method of self‑esteem assessment for 46 children with growth hormone deficiency with results from a matched control group of 80 healthy children.
The study was conducted at Odessa Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital in Odessa, Ukraine, from 2012 to 2020, and the children’s mean age was 9.8 years. Study participants received an average dose of recombinant human growth hormone of 0.033 mg/kg/d.
Results were processed by using the chi-squared test and estimating the differences between the mean values of 2 independent variation series. Questionnaire scores were used as predictor variables. The association between clinical and sociodemographic determinants and psychosocial problems was determined by using the odds ratio. The singular effect of each variable was analyzed.
Ultimately, the researchers found that children with growth hormone deficiency had lower self-esteem and more frequently had abnormally high scores for total difficulties, emotional problems, and peer problems than the matched control group. Higher scores on the questionnaire indicated greater severity of problems, and higher scores for emotional and peer problems indicated that the children with growth hormone deficiency were more likely to internalize difficulties.
Female gender and age 9 years or younger correlated with higher scores for internalizing difficulties, and male gender, age 9 years or younger, and below-average family income correlated with higher total difficulties scores. Low adherence to therapy and suboptimal growth response after 1 year of therapy correlated with higher total difficulties and internalizing difficulties scores.
“This study indicates that therapy with optimal growth response helps to restore the psychosocial functioning in children with [growth hormone deficiency] by reducing the problems of internalizing,” noted the researchers. “Early identification of psychosocial problems and low self-esteem can be a part of the routine management and monitoring of therapy for children with [growth hormone deficiency].”
Aryayev M, Senkivska L, Lowe JB. Psycho-emotional and behavioral problems in children with growth hormone deficiency. Front Ped. Published online September 23, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2021.707648