Hikikomori as a possible clinical term in psychiatry: a questionnaire survey

Masaru Tateno, Tae W. Park, Takahiro A. Kato, Wakako Umene-Nakano, Toshikazu Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The word hikikomori, the abnormal avoidance of social contact, has become increasingly well-known. However, a definition of this phenomenon has not been discussed thoroughly. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the perception of hikikomori amongst health-related students and professionals and to explore possible psychiatric conditions underlying hikikomori.Methods: A total of 1,038 subjects were requested to complete a questionnaire regarding hikikomori phenomenon.Results: While some differences in the perception of hikikomori do exist, all subjects tended to disagree with the statement, " hikikomori is NOT a disorder" . Regarding the underlying psychiatric disorders of hikikomori, approximately 30% of psychiatrists chose schizophrenia as the most applicable ICD-10 diagnosis for hikikomori, whereas 50% of pediatricians chose neurotic or stress-related disorders.Conclusions: An argument still exists regarding the relationship between hikikomori and psychiatric disorders. We propose that the term hikikomori could be used to describe severe social withdrawal in the setting of a number of psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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