Epidemic of Loneliness in a Digital Society: Hikikomori as a Cultural and Psychological Phenomenon



The article discusses the problem of desocialization, namely, loneliness at a young age in relation to the hikikomori phenomenon. Hikikomori are young people who have not left their parental home for at least 6 months, have no friends, refuse to study and work and are not in contact with their closest relatives. This kind of loneliness manifests most vividly in Japan. A number of Japanese psychiatrists believe that hikikomori suffer from a previously non-diagnosed mental disease specific to the Japanese culture. The peculiarities of socialization processes characteristic of the Japanese society are considered. We analyze the specifics of hikikomori’s application of digital technologies, namely, their use of the Net for communication and information exchange. While hikikomori shy away from traditional socializing, they accept digital socializing and socialize more than their peers did before the digital era. Conclusion: mental health professionals are going to come across more young people identifying themselves as hikikomori and adopting their lifestyle if only in some ways.

General Information

Keywords: loneliness, hikikomori, digital technologies, social maladjustment

Journal rubric: Research Reviews

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/cpp.2019270303

Acknowledgements. This work was supported by Russian Science Foundation, grant № 18-18-00365.

For citation: Voiskounsky A.E., Soldatova G.U. Epidemic of Loneliness in a Digital Society: Hikikomori as a Cultural and Psychological Phenomenon. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2019. Vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 22–43. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2019270303. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alexander E. Voiskounsky, PhD in Psychology, leading research fellow, faculty of general psychology, Moscow State University named after M.V.Lomonosov, Moscow, Russia, e-mail: vae-msu@mail.ru

Galina U. Soldatova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Department of Personality Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Head of the Department of Social Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6690-7882, e-mail: soldatova.galina@gmail.com



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