Hikikomori: A multitheoretical approach
Hikikomori is a mental health concern first identified in Japan that appears to be an increasingly global phenomenon. Researchers have attempted to address key points about hikikomori with mixed results. There is a lack of unified thought and conceptualization about hikikomori, as well as overarching treatment methods and strategies. With an increasing number of cases being identified around the world, it is prudent to develop more comprehensive and unified views and knowledge of hikikomori. Currently there is disagreement and many unanswered questions about hikikomori, including how to appropriately conceptualize, assess, and treat it. The present study explored the school of thought that hikikomori is an international phenomenon, whether any differences might exist between hikikomori across cultural or national groups and whether hikikomori experience their isolation with emotional distress and somatic symptoms. Participants were asked to complete an assessment of hikikomori, a measure of emotional experiences, a somatic symptom questionnaire, and demographic questions. Results were analyzed using correlation, multiple regression, and t-test analyses. Findings indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between hikikomori symptoms and experiences of negative emotion, and also between hikikomori symptoms and introversion. There was also a significant difference between levels of hikikomori symptoms across national groups. The relationship between hikikomori and other factors was also significant when controlling for introversion. These findings will aid in future conceptualization and treatment of hikikomori.