Alternative Title

Looking for acute social withdrawal outside Japan

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Hikikomori, Hikikomori-Treatment, Hikikomori-Prevention, Social isolation, Social isolation-Treatment, Social isolation-Prevention, Acute social withdrawal, Culture bound syndrome, Cross-national, Cross-cultural, Social withdrawal, Culture


The aim of this study was to determine whether acute social withdrawal (also known as hikikomori) is a culture bound syndrome, or if it exists in cultures outside Japan.

Surveys in both online and paper form were made available on Internet forums and were sent to Internet addiction clinics and private therapists across country. Questions on the survey assessed demographic information and included exploratory questions on treatment for hikikomori, a place for participants to provide information to the mental health community at large, and feedback from hikikomori participants regarding their lived experiences.

The demographic data indicated that acute social withdrawal is present in various countries outside Japan, and the open-ended questions provided information regarding potential treatments, positive and negative ideation toward treatment, and useful data for clinicians that may encounter individuals with acute social withdrawal/hikikomori.




iii, 57 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-41)

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