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Title: Understanding the experiences of hikikomori through the lens of the CHIME framework : connectedness, hope and optimism, identity, meaning in life, and empowerment; systematic review
Authors: Yung, JYK 
Wong, V
Ho, GWK 
Molassiotis, A 
Issue Date: 2021
Source: BMC psychology, 2021, v. 9, 104
Abstract: Background: Hikikomori is a phenomenon describing people who exhibit behaviors of self-secluding themselves at home for long durations of time and usually only having face-to-face social interactions with none other than family. Existing interventions for hikikomori are inconclusive and the majority are absent in using a theoretical framework to guide its components. Therefore, applicability of the psychosocial recovery framework of Connectedness, Hope and Optimism, Identity, Meaning in Life, and Empowerment (CHIME) towards hikikomori care was reviewed.
Method: Five databases were searched in April 2020 with the search formula from a published systematic review on hikikomori combined with search terms specific to domains of the CHIME framework. Articles included in the review were of the English language, of all publication years, peer-reviewed, quantitative or qualitative research studies and case studies, included study designs that were observational or interventional in nature, and involved populations of socially withdrawn youth.
Results: CHIME’s comprehensive structure and organized approach could guide researchers or service providers in determining areas needing assessments, measurement, and areas of focus. It is suggested that the CHIME framework is applicable after modifying a specific dimension—‘meaning of mental illness experiences’ into ‘meaning of the hikikomori experience’. Thematic overlap occurred between the domains of connectedness, identity, and meaning. Yet, additional dimensions or domains such as trust building, non-linearity, and spatiality can be included for addressing specific limitations in this application, which would help towards catering services to help hikikomori in recovery or in increasing quality-of-life of those individuals’ while entrapped in this withdrawn lifestyle.
Conclusion: CHIME framework could be applicable towards hikikomori care after applying the suggested modifications. Additionally, many knowledge gaps were found in literature during this review that warrants further investigation to improve hikikomori care.
Keywords: CHIME
Hope and optimism
Meaning in life
Youth in social withdrawal
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Journal: BMC psychology 
EISSN: 2050-7283
DOI: 10.1186/s40359-021-00605-7
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
The following publication Yung, J.Y.K., Wong, V., Ho, G.W.K. et al. Understanding the experiences of hikikomori through the lens of the CHIME framework: connectedness, hope and optimism, identity, meaning in life, and empowerment; systematic review. BMC Psychol 9, 104 (2021) is available at
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