Social withdrawal in Italian youth: A research with mental health professionals. Social withdrawal among young people was considered a culture-bound psychiatric syndrome in Japan, but recently the phenomenon of social withdrawal of young people has appeared in several countries. However, there is no formal definition or diagnostic tool for social withdrawal. This research aims to help fill a gap in knowledge of social withdrawal in young Italians. Using semistructured interviews, data were collected from 18 mental health professionals. The findings were grouped into 5 main themes, namely escape from school, clinical definitions, the phenomenology of social withdrawal, virtual reality, and identity formation. The results showed that social withdrawal is associated with two psychological types: low self-esteem and high self-esteem. Furthermore, research suggests that social withdrawal may become a sort of "lifestyle" for young people, albeit socially opposed.
Keywords: youth social withdrawal; hikikomori; contemporary youth issue; psychosocial development; bullying; interpersonal rejection.