Japanese Parents’ Narratives of Social Withdrawal

Emplotting Hikikomori: Japanese Parents’ Narratives of Social Withdrawal

ArticleinCulture Medicine and Psychiatry · May 2016
DOI: 10.1007/s11013-016-9495-6
  • 11.8 · Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Somerset, New Jersey
Hikikomori, often glossed as “social withdrawal,” emerged as a sociomedical condition among Japanese youth at the end of the twentieth century, and it continues to fascinate and concern the public. Explanatory frameworks for hikikomori abound, with different stakeholders attributing it to individual psychopathology, poor parenting, and/or a lack of social support structures. This article takes an interpretive approach to hikikomori by exploring parents’ narrative constructions of hikikomori children in support group meetings and in-depth interviews. I argue that some parents were able to find hope in hikikomori by ‘emplotting’ their children’s experiences into a larger narrative about onset, withdrawal, and recovery, which helped them remain invested in the present by maintaining a sense of possibility about the future. Contrary to literature that examines hikikomori as an epidemic of isolated individuals, I demonstrate how parents play a key role in hikikomori through meaning-making activities that have the potential to shape their children’s experiences of withdrawal.

Social Anxiety Between Asian Americans and European Americans

Comparing Social Anxiety Between Asian Americans and European Americans: An Examination of Measurement Invariance

ArticleinAssessment · June 2016
DOI: 10.1177/1073191116656438
There have been over 30 studies and two meta-analyses comparing social anxiety between Asian Americans and European Americans. However, few have investigated the invariance of social anxiety measures that would make these comparisons appropriate. In the current study, we systematically examined psychometric properties and configural, metric, and scalar invariance of five social anxiety measures and four short forms that have been used more than once to compare Asian Americans (n = 232) and European Americans (n = 193). We found that four (i.e., SPS-6, SIAS-6, SPS, and SPAI-18) of the nine scales were scalar invariant, three scales (i.e., SIAS, SPAI, and B-FNES) only achieved configural invariance, and two scales (i.e., FNES and SADS) failed to achieve configural invariance. Latent mean comparisons based on the scalar invariant measures revealed higher social anxiety scores for Asian Americans than European Americans. The findings are discussed with regard to the issues and challenges when comparing social anxiety among different cultural and ethnic groups.