Background: Hikikomori, a form of social withdrawal first reported in Japan, may exist globally but cross-national studies of cases of hikikomori are lacking. Aims: To identify individuals with hikikomori in multiple countries and describe features of the condition. Method: Participants were recruited from sites in India, Japan, Korea and the United States. Hikikomori was defined as a 6-month or longer period of spending almost all time at home and avoiding social situations and social relationships, associated with significant distress/impairment. Additional measures included the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Loneliness Scale, Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6), Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) and modified Cornell Treatment Preferences Index. Results: A total of 36 participants with hikikomori were identified, with cases detected in all four countries. These individuals had high levels of loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale M = 55.4, SD = 10.5), limited social networks (LSNS-6 M = 9.7, SD = 5.5) and moderate functional impairment (SDS M = 16.5, SD = 7.9). Of them 28 (78%) desired treatment for their social withdrawal, with a significantly higher preference for psychotherapy over pharmacotherapy, in-person over telepsychiatry treatment and mental health specialists over primary care providers. Across countries, participants with hikikomori had similar generally treatment preferences and psychosocial features. Conclusion: Hikikomori exists cross-nationally and can be assessed with a standardized assessment tool. Individuals with hikikomori have substantial psychosocial impairment and disability, and some may desire treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health