Development of a 3-Day Intervention Program for Family Members of Hikikomori Sufferers1

Hiroaki Kubo, Hiromi Urata, Motohiro Sakai, Shunsuke Nonaka, Junji Kishimoto, Kazuhiko Saito, Masaru Tateno, Keiji Kobara, Daisuke Fujisawa, Naoki Hashimoto, Yuriko Suzuki, Yoko Honda, Kotaro Otsuka, Shigenobu Kanba, Toshihide Kuroki, Takahiro A. Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Hikikomori (a severe form of social withdrawal) is a serious mental health issue. A family approach is the initial step to support hikikomori; thus effective family intervention programs are warranted. We recently developed a 5-day family intervention program (120 min weekly) based on Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT). In the present study, we modified the 5-day program to a 3-day program (180 min fortnightly), and examined the effectiveness of the 3-day program using a single-arm procedure. Data of 23 parents (four fathers and 19 mothers; age = 62.0 ± 9.1 years) were analyzed. Mental health conditions among participants themselves improved at the 4-month follow-up, but the confidence in hikikomori support declined and stigma toward mental health problems did not change. However, short-term improvements in perceived skills in approaching hikikomori sufferers were detected. Hikikomori sufferers’ actual behavioral changes, such as social participation or utilization of support, were also observed (six out of 20 hikikomori sufferers). Preliminary effectiveness was confirmed for the 3-day program. Further revision of the program and a validation study with controls are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-199
Number of pages10
JournalJapanese Psychological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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