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Keywords:

  • Hand preference;
  • stature;
  • physical maturity;
  • developmental delay

One element of Coren and Halpera's controversial theory [Psychological Bulletin, 109, 90-106 (1991)] that left-handedness is associated with shorter lifespans is the hypothesis that sinistrality is accompanied by a developmental lag. Perinatal traumas could interfere with the normal developmental shift to right-sided lateral preferences during childhood, leading to an association between maturational lag and left-handedness. In a test of this hypothesis, we assessed current stature, predicted adult stature and relative stature, an index of physical maturity, for elementary school-aged children in three separate, large-sample studies. No relations between hand preference and the three measures of physical status were found. Repeated failures to confirm the hypothesis with pre-adolescent samples raise serious doubt about the viability of the left-handed developmental lag hypothesis.