Researchers Develop A Questionnaire That Could Identify Hikikomori in Its Early Stages – ScienceDaily

Kyushu University researchers have developed a new ‘Hikikomori Questionnaire’ to detect the condition at an earlier stage. Preliminary results indicate that ‘isolation’ is a possible factor that can distinguish between non-hikikomori and pre-hikikomori individuals, providing possible validation of the new questionnaire as a tool for early diagnosis and treatment.

Hikikomori is a complex pathological condition in which an individual withdraws from society and stays at home nearly every day for more than six months. Although it may be considered a Japanese occurrence, hikikomori has been reported globally from Asia to Europe and North America.

“Hikikomori was first described in 1998. When examining the condition, we found it to be a very complex pathology that results from an overlap of physical, social, and psychological conditions,” explains Takahiro A. Kato of Kyushu University’s School of Medical Sciences. first author of the study. “Hikikomori’s growing international recognition has brought it into the interest of many researchers and medical professionals, especially in the wake of the years-long COVID-19 pandemic. Hikikomori was recognized only this year in the revised edition of the DSM-5.”

Kato and his team are working on measures to evaluate, identify and treat hikikomori patients until they opened the world’s first outpatient clinic for hikikomori individuals in 2013. In 2018 the team developed the ‘Hikikomori Questionnaire’ or HQ-. 25, this was designed to assess whether individuals under social withdrawal showed symptoms of hikikomori after six months.

“This questionnaire enabled us to identify symptomatic individuals with hikikomori. As our study progressed, we found that we needed an assessment tool that could assess symptomatic individuals at an earlier stage to help detect and potentially prevent hikikomori,” Kato continues.

Prepared in collaboration with Nihon University and Oregon Health and Science University, the new Hikikomori Questionnaire, or HQ-25M, consists of 25 questions that assess three sub-factors of socialization, isolation, and emotional support on a scale of 0-4. , 4 ‘strongly agree’.

For example, questions like ‘I feel uncomfortable around other people’ measure socialization, while questions like ‘I have very few people with whom I can discuss important matters’ include emotional support.

Pilot testing of new reported survey Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, It was conducted with 762 Japanese individuals. The questionnaire first asked the individual’s social withdrawal status in the previous month to divide participants into hikikomori, non-hikikomori, and pre-hikikomori groups. The team also added a questionnaire assessing the individual’s psychological distress during the same month.

“We analyzed the data to see comparable differences between different category groups,” Kato explains. “Multiple models showed us that hikikomori groups scored significantly higher on all measures compared with non-hikikomori and pre-hikikomori.”

Interestingly, among pre-Hikikomori and non-Hikikomori responders, among all three sub-factors measured, insulation was the only sub-factor that showed a significant difference in scores.

Still in the preliminary stages, the team is pleased with its initial findings and plans to use them to improve their surveys and data collection.

“These initial findings are promising and show that our survey could be a good tool for early detection of hikikomori,” Kato said. “Still, we must work to expand and diversify our sample size and fine-tune our questions. We must also work with researchers and patients outside of Japan, as hikikomori pathology has been reported worldwide.”

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materials provided by Kyushu University. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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