Loading a lap joint in tension causes the adherends to increase their tensile stress over the nominal because of the bending produced by the offset of the joint. Knowing the configuration of the joint and the tensile stress, the stress distribution in the adherends outside the joint can be determined. The theory, with resulting equations, is based on the assumption that the adherends act like a plate bent to a cylindrical surface. If the bending of the adherends is eliminated by the use of a double overlap joint, the stress distribution in the adhesive can be determined. This analysis is based on existing mathematical findings of the load distribution in riveted joints. The resulting equations have been proven experimentally by the use of the photo stress technique, and can be applied to adhesively bonded, soldered, brazed, welded, and under certain conditions, riveted joints.