Standard Article

Adjustment Disorder

  1. Francis D. Kelly

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0015

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Kelly, F. D. 2010. Adjustment Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Greenfield, MA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


When individuals, regardless of their age, are subjected to a significant psychosocial stressor, two possible outcomes are likely—in one instance the person is not significantly affected by the stressor and proceeds on with their life without indication of perceptible problem. In the other possible scenario, the individual experiences a negative reaction to the stressor. Herein, at some point the person begins to exhibit behavioral, mood, or emotional symptoms, the person is then described as manifesting an adjustment disorder, and there is then the need to initiate change in order to restore even functioning. It is important to emphasize that adjustment disorders differ from acute stress disorders in that the latter represent reactions to extraordinary traumatic stressors (i.e., life-threatening events).