[Skip to Navigation]
May 1977

The Syndrome of Abuse Dwarfism (Psychosocial Dwarfism or Reversible Hyposomatotropism): Behavioral Data and Case Report

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Baltimore.

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(5):508-513. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120180022002

• In abuse dwarfism the behavioral signs include some or all of the following: (1) a history of unusual eating and drinking behavior, reversible on change of domicile, such as eating from a garbage can and drinking from a toilet bowl, stealing food, alleged picky eating and rejecting food at the table, polydipsia and polyphagia, possibly alternating with vomiting and possibly also with self-starvation; (2) a history of such behavioral symptoms as enuresis, encopresis, social apathy or inertia, defiant aggressiveness, sudden tantrums, crying spasms, insomnia, eccentric sleeping and waking schedule, pain agnosia, and self-injury, all occurring only in the growth-retarding environment; (3) retarded motor development, with improvement on removal of the child from the domicile of abuse; (4) retarded intellectual growth, reversible on change of domicile by as much as 30 to 50 IQ points; and (5) a history of pathologic family relationships, including unusual cruelty and neglect, either somatic or psychic or both.

(Am J Dis Child 131:508-513, 1977)

Add or change institution