Concern about tall stature during adolescence and depression in later life Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: This retrospective cohort study aimed to examine the long-term psychosocial outcomes for women assessed or treated during adolescence for tall stature. METHOD: Women assessed or treated for tall stature identified from the records of Australian paediatricians were eligible to participate. Psychosocial outcomes were measured using the depression, mania and eating disorders modules of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), the SF-36, and an index of social support. RESULTS: There was no significant difference between treated and untreated women in the prevalence of 12 month or lifetime major depression, eating disorders, scores on the SF-36 mental health summary scale, or the index of social support. However, compared with the findings of population-based studies, the prevalence of major depression in both treated and untreated tall girls was high (12 month prevalence: untreated 10.7%, treated 11.2%; lifetime prevalence: untreated 29.4%, treated 26.6%). Factors significantly associated with lifetime major depression in this study were self-reported difficulties during adolescence being the reason for seeking a medical assessment of height (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.4-3.6) and a negative experience of the assessment or treatment procedures (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.4-3.0). CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up of a large cohort of tall girls showed that psychological outcomes among both treated and untreated women were poor and that the intended psychosocial benefit of treatment may not have been realized. The findings highlight the importance of attending to the mental health of adolescents presenting for management of conditions where self-concept and body image are a primary focus.


  • Bruinsma, Fiona J
  • Venn, Alison J
  • Patton, George C
  • Rayner, Jo-Ann
  • Pyett, Priscilla
  • Werther, George
  • Jones, Penelope
  • Lumley, Judith M

publication date

  • April 2006

has subject area