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Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 2075-3470

ISSN (online): 2311-9446

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

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 1992

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Epidemic of Loneliness in a Digital Society: Hikikomori as a Cultural and Psychological Phenomenon 1155

Voiskounsky A.E.
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

Soldatova G.U.
Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of Specialization "Psychology of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution", Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
e-mail: soldatova.galina@gmail.com

Abstract
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.

Keywords: loneliness, hikikomori, digital technologies, social maladjustment

Column: New mental health and communication disturbances in the information society

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

For Reference

Acknowledgements

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

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