A psychosocial problem may be a negative life event, an environmental difficulty or deficiency, a familial or other interpersonal stress, an inadequacy of social support or personal resources, or other problem relating to the context in which a person's difficulties have developed. So-called positive stressors, such as job promotion, should be listed only if they constitute or lead to a problem, as when a person has difficulty adapting to the new situation, chronic disease. In addition to playing a role in the initiation or exacerbation of a mental disorder, psychosocial problems may also develop as a consequence of a person's psychopathology or may constitute problems that should be considered in the overall management plan. So these psychosocial problems affect the diagnosis, treatment, social life.
For convenience, the problems are grouped together in the following categories: see p. 731- DSM-IV-TR).
- Problems with primary support group - e.g., death of a family member; health problems in family; disruption of family by separation, divorce, or estrangement; removal from the home; remarriage of parent; sexual or physical abuse; parental overprotection; neglect of child; inadequate discipline; discord with siblings; birth of a sibling
- Problems related to the social environment- e.g., death or loss of friend; inadequate social support; living alone; difficulty with acculturation; discrimination; adjustment to life-cycle transition (such as retirement)
- Educational problems - e.g., illiteracy; academic problems; discord with teachers or classmates; inadequate school environment
- Occupational problems - e.g., unemployment; threat of job loss; stressful work schedule; difficult work conditions; job dissatisfaction; job change; discord with boss or co-workers
- Housing problems - e.g., homelessness; inadequate housing; unsafe neighbourhood; discord with neighbours or landlord
- Economic problems - e.g., extreme poverty; inadequate finances; insufficient welfare support
- Problems with access to health care services - e.g., inadequate health care services; transportation to health care facilities unavailable; inadequate health insurance
- Problems related to interaction with the legal system/crime - e.g., arrest; incarceration; litigation; victim of crime
- Other psychosocial and environmental problems - e.g., exposure to disasters, war, other hostilities; discord with nonfamily caregivers such as counselor, social worker, or physician; unavailability of social service agencies.