The Adjustment Disorder–New Module 20 as a Screening Instrument: Cluster Analysis and Cut-off Values

L Lorenz, RC Bachem, A Maercker


Background: Adjustment disorder (AjD) is a transient mental health condition emerging after stressful life events. Its diagnostic criteria have recently been under revision which led to the development of the Adjustment Disorder–New Module 20 (ADNM-20) as a self-report assessment.

Objective: To identify a threshold value for people at high risk for AjD.

Methods: As part of a randomized controlled trial evaluating a self-help manual for burglary victims, the baseline data of all participants (n=80) were analyzed. Besides the ADNM-20, participants answered self-report questionnaires regarding the external variables post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology, depression, anxiety, and stress levels. We used cluster analysis and ROC analysis to identify the most appropriate cut-off value.

Results: The cluster analysis identified three different subgroups. They differed in their level of AjD symptomatology from low to high symptom severity. The same pattern of impairment was found for the external variables. The ROC analysis testing the ADNM-20 sum score
against the theory-based diagnostic algorithm, revealed an optimal cut-off score at 47.5 to distinguish between people at high risk for AjD and people at low risk.

Conclusion: The ADNM-20 distinguishes between people with low, moderate, and high symptomatology. The recommendation for a cut-off score at 47.5 facilitates the use of the ADNM-20 in research and practice.


Adjustment disorder; Trauma and stressor related disorders; Symptom assessment; Diagnosis

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2016.775

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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