Maladjusted refers to a person who is unable to cope with the demands and expectations of society or who does not fit into their social environment due to emotional, behavioral, or psychological problems.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Unadapted, dysfunctional, disturbed, troubled, disoriented


Well-adjusted, adapted, stable, balanced, content

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective maladjusted
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The maladjusted child was often disruptive in class and had difficulty making friends.

  • The therapist worked with the maladjusted patient to help them overcome their anxiety and depression.

  • The maladjusted employee struggled to meet the expectations of their boss and coworkers.

  • The maladjusted individual felt isolated and misunderstood in their social circle.


The term maladjusted is used to describe a person who has difficulty adapting to their environment, whether it be at school, work, or in their personal life. It is often associated with mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or personality disorders, that interfere with a person’s ability to function effectively in society.

The root word “mal-” comes from the Latin word “malus,” meaning “bad” or “evil,” and the word “adjusted” refers to a person’s ability to adapt to their surroundings. Thus, maladjusted literally means “badly adjusted.”

The term can be used to describe a wide range of individuals, including children who struggle in school, employees who have difficulty meeting the expectations of their job, and individuals who have difficulty maintaining relationships. It is often used in a clinical or psychological context, such as when discussing a patient’s diagnosis or treatment plan.

There are various prefixes and suffixes that can be added to the word maladjusted to modify its meaning. For example, the prefix “non-” can be added to create the word “non-maladjusted,” which means that a person is well-adjusted and able to cope with the demands of their environment. The suffix “-ness” can be added to create the word “maladjustment,” which refers to the state of being maladjusted.

It is important to note that the term maladjusted can carry negative connotations and can be stigmatizing for individuals who struggle with mental health disorders or other challenges. It is important to approach the term with sensitivity and to recognize that it is not a label or a diagnosis, but rather a descriptive term that can be used to understand and support individuals who may be struggling to adapt to their environment.