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Adjustment Disorder

  • By: Yo Jackson
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

A normal part of child development involves experiencing events that are unexpected or unpleasant and learning how to overcome these challenges. However, for some individuals, recovery after a stressful event is not so easy and distress appears long after the event is over. Children who exhibit problematic reactions to stressful experiences beyond typical levels may be demonstrating symptoms of an adjustment disorder.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) describes adjustment disorder as a child's response to an identifiable stressor that is much more severe than would be expected. Adjustment disorder also applies when the reaction is expected or typical, but reaches the threshold for an adjustment disorder when that reaction begins to impair the child's social ...

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