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mal- +‎ adaptive


maladaptive (comparative more maladaptive, superlative most maladaptive)

  1. (psychology, chiefly of behaviour) Showing inadequate or faulty adaptation to a new situation.
    • 1989, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Sex Differences in Unipolar Depression: Evidence and Theory, Jill M. Hooley, John M. Neale, Gerald C. Davison (editors), Readings in Abnormal Psychology, page 234,
      The learned helplessness explanation of sex differences in depression would be supported if it was shown that a greater degree of uncontrollability and a more maladaptive explanatory style in women account for any sex differences observed in depression in the sample.
    • 2013, Len Sperry, Behavioral Health: Integrating Individual and Family Interventions in the Treatment of Medical Conditions, page 21,
      An individual's functioning can be conceptualized on a continuum, with one end being more adaptive and healthy and the other end being more maladaptive and less healthy.
    • 2013, Edith M. Freeman, Substance Abuse Intervention, Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Systems Change Strategies, page 44,
      Some programmatic responses to power issues are more maladaptive for particular clients, such as women, because they affect their role expectations.


  • (showing inadquate adaptation): adaptive

Derived terms[edit]