Adjustment disorder in the Armed Forces: A systematic review

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Background: In the UK military, adjustment disorder (AjD) is reported as one of the most diagnosed mental disorders, alongside depression, in personnel presenting to mental health services. Despite this, little is understood about what may predict AjD, common treatment or outcomes for this population.
Aim: The systematic review aimed to summarise existing research for AjD in Armed Forces (AF) populations, including prevalence and risk factors, and to outline clinical and occupational outcomes.
Method: A literature search was conducted in December 2020 to identify research that investigated AjD within an AF population (serving or veteran) following the PRISMA guidelines.
Results: Eighty-three studies were included in the review. The AjD prevalence estimates in AF populations with a mental disorder was considerably higher for serving AF personnel (34.9%) compared to veterans (12.8%). Childhood adversities were identified as a risk factor for AjD. AjD was found to increase the risk of suicidal ideation, with one study reporting a risk ratio of 4.70 (95% Confidence Interval: 3.50-6.20). Talking therapies were the most common treatment for AjD, however none reported on treatment effectiveness.
Conclusion: This review found that AjD was commonly reported across international AF. Despite heterogeneity in the results, the review identifies several literature gaps.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2022


  • Systematic Review
  • armed forces
  • veterans


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