October 1980

Adjustment Disorders in Adolescents and Adults

Author Affiliations

Patricia Wasek
From the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(10):1166-1170. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780230084012

• The face and descriptive validity of the diagnosis of adjustment disorders is examined in a sample of 402 adolescents and adults who received a DSM-II diagnosis of "transient situational disturbance" over a four-year period. The study suggests that the redefinition of the disorder in DSM-II should have substantially better face and descriptive validity. This redefinition recognizes that both the stressors that precipitate the disorder and the disorder itself may often by quite chronic, and that the stressor need not be overwhelming. Among adolescents in this study, 59% of the stressors had been present for a year of more, while among the adults, 36% of the stressors had been present for a year or more. A classification that subtypes ajustment disorders in terms of predominant symptomatology appears to have potential clinical utility. In this study, adolescents tended to have many behavioral symptoms and adults many depressive symptoms.