Characteristics of socially withdrawn youth in France: A retrospective study (Chauliac et al. 2017)

International Journal of Social Psychiatry

Background: Poor social interactions have been recognized as a symptom since the beginnings of psychiatry. As far as socially withdrawn youth (SWY) are concerned, studies were mostly conducted on patients seeking care. Our psychiatric outreach team called Psymobile was able to reach SWY patients who were not seeking mental health care. Aims: To identify the clinical and socio-demographic characteristics of SWY patients referred to our Psymobile unit. Method: We carried out a retrospective study on the records of patients aged 18–34years, who were referred to Psymobile for ‘withdrawal’, between April 2012 and December 2015.
Results: In total, 66 patients were included in the study. SWY are predominantly male (80%) from large families or single-parent ones. About 42% had no prior contact with a mental health professional before being referred to Psymobile. The mean duration of withdrawal is 29 months. In all, 42% of SWY use cannabis and 73% present disorders of the sleep–wake schedule. About 71% maintain relations with their families and 73% go out occasionally. They are mostly diagnosed with schizophrenia (37%) or mood disorders (23%).
Conclusion: Over one-third of Psymobile patients aged 18–34years were referred on grounds of social withdrawal. Our data may illustrate more accurately the situation of youth social withdrawal amid the general population than data from help-seeking patients or online questionnaires.


Traumatic dimensions of hikikomori: a Foucauldian note (TAJAN 2017, Asian Journal of Psychiatry)

Free access to my letter to the editor of the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.
Clicks until May 05, 2017: free access to the article (No sign up or registration is needed)


  • Acute social withdrawal (hikikomori) is an epidemic in Japan.
  • There are three traumatic dimensions of hikikomori survivors: the trigger of bullying, the traumatic effects of social isolation, and family trauma.
  • Hikikomori is a struggle inside the home and outside social institutions, against the contemporary practices of the mental health field.

Hikikomori: The Japanese Cabinet Office’s 2016 Survey of Acute Social Withdrawal


In September 2016, the Cabinet Office of Japan published the results of an epidemiological survey focusing on acute social withdrawal (hikikomori). This article summarizes and assesses the major features of the survey. It aims at facilitating research and international exchanges on a mental health and social problem affecting at least 541,000 people in Japan that seems to have spread to industrialized societies.

FULL TEXT: OPEN ACCESS in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Can “ Pokémon GO ” rescue shut-ins (hikikomori) from their isolated world?

Article by Kato et al. published online in

December 2016 in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences

Open access:

PS: “To date, there has been no evidence showing a correlation between the use of personal computers (PCs) and/or information technology (IT) and the occurrence of hikikomori, at least in Japan.”


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.

The Ecology of Withdrawal (Frontiers in Psychology)

General Commentary ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 23 May 2016 |

The Ecology of Withdrawal. Commentary: The NEET and Hikikomori spectrum: Assessing the risks and consequences of becoming culturally marginalized

Michael E. W. Varnum* and Jung Y. Kwon