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November 1985

The Educational, Vocational, and Marital Status of Growth Hormone–Deficient Adults Treated With Growth Hormone During Childhood

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Dean and Ms McTaggart), Social and Preventive Medicine (Dr Fish), and Physiology (Dr Friesen), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. Dr Dean is a Research Fellow of the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(11):1105-1110. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140130043027

• The goal of growth hormone therapy in childhood is to increase stature, thereby facilitating normal psychosocial development. To determine the social outcome of patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), we interviewed 116 adults with GHD across Canada, including 86 men and 30 women 18 to 38 years of age who were treated with growth hormone during childhood. The education of the 96 patients who had completed their formal education was similar to their siblings and to the general population. Of the patients in the labor force, 35.4% were unemployed; the unemployment rates for those patients less than 25 years of age and those 25 years of age or older were 45% and 23%, respectively, compared with national rates of 21.2% and 9.4% for the same age groups, respectively. Of the 90 patients with GHD who were not attending school, 70 lived with their parents or relatives. Only 15 patients were married; one was divorced. The percentage of patients with GHD who were married was less than 30% of the expected age-adjusted rate. No difference in the rate of employment or marriage was found between the patients with idiopathic isolated GHD and organic hypopituitarism. In summary, the achievements of patients with GHD seem to be normal in the education system, but the rate of employment and marriage are much lower than expected. This poor outcome was unrelated to the response to growth hormone therapy and emphasizes the need to develop strategies that lead to more satisfactory psychosocial integration of patients with GHD in adult life.

(AJDC 1985;139:1105-1110)