Hikikomori: How To Identify Severe Social Withdrawal? Researchers Find


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Hikikomori How To Identify Severe Social Withdrawal

Mental Health News

A team of researchers at Kyushu University devised a new questionnaire to detect the early symptoms of Hikikomori, a unique depression-like condition. The study is published in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Understanding “Hikikomori”

Hikikomori is a clinical condition characterized by extreme social withdrawal, self-imposed isolation, and depressive symptoms.

A person afflicted with this syndrome withdraws from society and remains at home almost every day for more than six months. It was first defined in 1998 but was not recognized until recently in psychiatric manuals.

The Hikikomori Questionnaire

The Hikikomori Questionnaire (HQ-25M) comprises 25 questions that evaluate (on a scale of 0–4) the three primary symptoms of Hikikomori, namely, socialization, isolation, and emotional support. It is designed to assess whether individuals under social withdrawal after six months are symptomatic of hikikomori.

Use Of The Questionnaire In A Clinical Setting

The questionnaire was first conducted with 762 Japanese individuals. Based on the answers, the participants were categorized into three groups: hikikomori, non-hikikomori, and pre-hikikomori groups.

Its success meant that it could be used in outpatient clinical settings in Japan and in other countries that reported cases of hikikomori.

The researchers elaborated: “These initial findings are promising [but] we have to work on expanding and diversifying our sample size and fine-tuning our questions. Moreover, since the hikikomori pathology is being reported around the world, we must work with researchers and patients outside of Japan.

To Know More You May Refer To

Kato, T. A., Suzuki, Y., Horie, K., Teo, A. R., & Sakamoto, S. (2022). One month version of Hikikomori Questionnaire‐25 ( HQ‐25M ): Development and initial validation. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. https://doi.org/10.1111/pcn.13499

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