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A new study by Department of Interdisciplinary Studies Assistant Professor of the Practice in Political Science Matt Bowker, Ph.D., and colleagues from around the world entitled, “Severe Social Withdrawal: Cultural Variation in Past Hikikomori Experiences of University Students in Nigeria, Singapore, and the US” will appear in a 2020 issue of the Journal of Genetic Psychology.

It will be the first study to analyze subject/sufferer/participant data to explore the prevalence and effect of hikikomori, as well as the first study to consider hikikomori in Singapore and on the African continent (Nigeria).

Hikikomori (severe social isolation that lasts for six months or longer, often for several years) is a well-known phenomenon in Japan, where it has most often been characterized as a culture-bound syndrome, unique to Japanese society. Indeed, recent estimates suggest that over a million Japanese youth will suffer from an episode of hikikomori in their lifetimes.

Nevertheless, we had reason to believe that hikikomori is not a culture-bound syndrome but 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.

Our 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.

  • : Medaille College

Posted by: Medaille College