This study provides a controlled assessment of the psychological (and physical) effects of growth hormone treatment. Fifteen short 'normal' children (height SD score < -2) have been treated with growth hormone since the age of 7/8 years. They, together with untreated short controls and average controls (10th-90th centiles), were assessed at recruitment, after three years, and after five years. Only the treated group showed a significant height increase (SD score -2.44 to -1.21 over five years). No significant differences were found at recruitment, three years, or five years in IQ, attainment, behaviour, or self esteem. Also at five years, there were no significant differences in locus of control, self perception, or parental perceptions of competence. Both short groups displayed less satisfaction with their height than the controls (p < 0.01), though all groups were optimistic of being tall adults. The treated children were no more unrealistic over final height than the untreated children. To date, no psychological benefits of treatment have been demonstrated; but nor have there been any discernible ill effects for either the treated or the untreated children.