Hikikomori was first described by Saito, a Japanese psychiatrist, during the ‘90s. It is a condition characterized by severe social withdrawal in which adolescents and young adults choose to take shelter in their home, thus abandoning their studies and their jobs and avoiding any social interaction, sleep during the day. Although the extent of the condition is increasingly discussed in the literature, few studies have explored its cognitive functioning. The social withdrawal, albeit severe, is not sufficient to describe and differentiate the condition from other disorders that may arise during the same stage of life. The aim of this article is to trace a profile that can help us identify the cognitive ingredients and mental states that explain both Hikikomori’s behaviour and the distinctive characteristics of this phenomenon. This allows a greater distinction from similar clinical pictures.
Keywords: Hikikomori, social withdrawal, shame.