“Severe Social Withdrawal: Cultural Variation in Past Hikikomori Experiences of University Students in Nigeria, Singapore, and the US” will appear in 2020.
Hikikomori (social withdrawal that lasts six months or longer) is a growing problem among Japanese adolescents and young adults with recent estimates that approximately 1% of Japanese youth will suffer from an episode of hikikomori in their lifetimes.
What remains unclear is whether hikikomori is a culture-bound syndrome or a condition impacting youth around the globe. Hence, the self-reported prevalence and psycho-social correlates of past experiences with hikikomori were examined in cross-sectional samples of university students from Singapore (n = 147), Nigeria (n = 151), and the United States (n = 301).
Following tests of measurement invariance, comparisons showed that past experiences with hikikomori were related to elevated levels of current loneliness and depressive symptoms in each sample.
However, analyses also revealed evidence of cultural variation in both the prevalence and the psycho-social correlates associated with past experiences of hikikomori, which taken together, provide preliminary evidence that the culture-bound characterization of hikikomori may not be appropriate.
Keywords: Social withdrawal; Hikikomori; Loneliness; Anxiety; Depression; University Students
Authors: Julie C. Bowker, Matthew H. Bowker, Jonathan Santo, Rebecca Etkin, Radhi Raja, Adesola Ojo